Have you already entered the Holiday-rush? Busy buying Christmas-gifts? Have you written to Santa Claus yet? Decorated your house with all the Christmas decorations you could get your hands on? Feeling any anxiety for the family coming together? Or maybe not gathering this year?
Christmas is a somewhat different holiday for different people. First of all, not everyone celebrates Christmas since it is a religious holiday. So that’s one reason for why you might not be reflecting about Christmas at all. Secondly, you might not like the idea of family gathering, because of all the family issues you might have. (I guess we all have “special” family traditions… If you know what I mean)
Also, this part of the world is not very religious, so the fact that it’s really about a special child being born for many, many years ago… has not much to do with Christmas nowadays.
It took me several years to really enjoy the Christmas Holiday to be perfectly honest with you. When being a child it was all about the gifts under the (over)decorated Christmas-tree that we always had. Each year it had a different theme, different colours that were well picked out to create that “special” Christmas-feeling to suit the Holiday for the year. In every single corner of the house there were decorations, all the I-have-no-idea-how-many- windows were decorated with light chains, bells, ornaments, you-name-it-we-got-it christmas-thingy so that you could not miss that it was Christmas! (It was that much, that it hurt your eyes looking at it…)
As a suggestion, this is where I got fed up with Christmas. It was just too much!
I felt stressed about the idea of decorating everything, the entire house, and all the time suppose to feel overwhelmed and excited about Christmas. But once the gifts were opened… it all disappeared. It vanished and went away. What was Christmas more about other than the gifts for a little child? Was I suppose to be over the moon happy to be with my family that I lived with under the same roof, that I saw every single day? Christmas or no-Christmas… same people, just a different day… (Get my point?)
As I moved out and began to live on my own, I still wasn’t really enjoying the Holiday, as it came back every December to remind us how to be grateful, thankful and what-not.
Until something happened. Not quite sure what, but it made me re-think the whole idea of Christmas. And as Christmas was coming closer, all the shops decorated their shop-windows and stores, and they started to play the same Christmas-carols, lyrics you know by heart really well, I mean well enough that you can tell which song is the next one being played…
And it usually begins around final week in October, and ends in the beginning of March (Just enough to make you fed up with Christmas, Winter, Snow, and all the Wham! with their “Last Christmas” you can possibly take) and it goes like that for about half the year (see my point of being fed up with Christmas? I was not born the female-Grinch, it was all of this that created me into becoming one).
No, what happened was that I realized what I wanted Christmas to be really about. Which is just as you might have heard before; gathering with friends and family, take a minute to enjoy the company and have a laugh. Share good and bad moments, but reminding that in the coldest of times of the year (in this part of the world at least) the love you share to one another, makes it easier to endure the cold and the darkness.
Still, every single year they announce that the swedes have been shopping even more than they did last year when it comes to the Christmas-gifts. Financial crises or no financial crises, the final bill for how much the swedes are shopping Christmas-gifts for are reaching higher and higher altitudes.
So… ehm… what was Christmas all about again? Are we unable to show love, gratitude, thankfulness or joy in any other way than by buying gifts to one another? Is that what is going on here? The hysteria for Christmas-gifts is just absurd!
I am not saying that it’s the right way, nor the wrong way… But is it really about the Christmas-gifts? Since November you can get tips on how to cope with the Christmas-rush, and stress, how to make it with your last-minute shopping, recommendations about what to get your husband/wife/child/sister/boyfriend… Ends up you being exhausted and stressed out in order to enter the calm, peaceful and what-is-suppose-to-be harmonized Christmas Holiday… (Paradox anyone?)
In my family we have a tradition that is one of the very few traditions that I really want to keep (Although I stated to be old-fashioned in earlier posts, I am not all that much for traditions, for several reasons really, but there’s no need for me to state them here).
Anyway, the tradition is about the Christmas dinner. We have set out an extra place by the table that no one sits at. The symbol of this tradition is that it’s a place for all the ones that have no table to sit by at Christmas. (Guessing that it has to do with if there was someone homeless passing by, you should invite him or her to sit by your table with your family, to have dinner together). As I was younger I asked my mother why she set out a spare place if she knew that no one else was coming. She explain the tradition and meaning of the spare plate on the table. Although I was just a child, I think that this is when I realized that Christmas is about much more than the Christmas-gifts, and this particular tradition has become a really dear and special one to me.
Thinking about all the people who don’t have a family to celebrate Christmas with, or food to put on their table for dinner on Christmas makes me really sad, and the least I can do is to set an additional place on my table for them. This is what I remember was my first thought as my mother explained the tradition behind the space by the table that no one sat by.
Now once again, Christmas is coming closer and I am overwhelmed by all the busy shoppers in the city and malls here, running around like crazy people, buying Christmas-gifts as if there was no tomorrow (!) at the same time surrounded with carols, decorations and Christmas-stress (Yes, people, the stress you get around this time of the year has its own term in my part of the world!)
As for me, I know what my Christmas is about.
(However, there is still not a sign in my house that there’s Christmas in less than two weeks. No decoration, light chain nor a christmas-tree. Guess I am permanently damaged in that way…)
But, for whatever it’s worth… Please don’t stress on and about Christmas.
Is it really what the Holiday is supposed to be about anyway?
What is Christmas to you?