Today it’s two months to Christmas Day. Already the mince pies and Christmas cakes are in the supermarkets. Other Christmas paraphernalia will appear as soon as Halloween zips on by and then there’ll be Christmas every-bloody-where.
Once the shops are festooned with temptations and shiny sparkly things we’ll all feel the pull to buy-buy-buy. Parents will be nagged every time they step on the high street and will indulge outlandish requests from their off-spring and put themselves into silly debt for no real reason. The rest of us will stress and worry about getting the right gift for the right person, being fair in the value and/or amount of presents for family and friends, and invariably over-spend too.
This year as you begin the journey to the festive season I want you to pause and consider a few things. I don’t care about the Christianity thing, it’s a celebration that was appropriated from the pagans anyway, so Jesus is almost moot. But if church and carols and the nativity make you happy, then off you go. But that’s my point – do what makes you happy.
Think about Christmas more as the Festive season, as a holiday, time to gather together as family and friends, to embrace the Western Christian tradition of Christmas, but to make it your own. Make Christmas something special for you and yours.
Remember, Christmas can be very hard for some. Those who are alone, who have lost someone recently: those who are ill, or frail or poor find this time of year very difficult. Christmas can be a time of loneliness and sadness and, sadly, it is renown for family bust ups and violence. The forced jollity can be too much for some of us. Not to mention the copious amounts of alcohol we imbibe and the residual resentments that bubble to the surface as we gather together to try to be a happy family.
So, this year, before you go crazy with presents and tinsel, lights and decorations, excessive amounts of food and wine –– think about what this time of the year really means to you.
Ask yourself a few hard questions about Christmas:
Is it about showing off your wealth through extravagant presents?
Is it about showing off your cooking prowess with a spread to rival a Michelin chef?
Is it about eating and drinking yourself into a stupor?
Do you organize Christmas for your family’s enjoyment or for their appreciation?
Is it about gifts that mean something?
Is it about enjoying being together, spending time with those who matter most?
Is it about laughter and joy?
Is your Christmas about generosity and love?
This year think wisely my friends. Start planning now by all means, but carefully consider the sort of Festive Season you really want. Make it a celebration to remember and cherish, one you look back on fondly, not with regret or sadness. And do your best to do something for those less fortunate than yourself. (Images courtesy of Private Collection)