Doing Christmas Right

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I usually don’t do this (and never on social media) but I need to vent a little. WARNING: The following blog post is a bit of a rant! It makes me sad when I hear someone say they hate Christmas… or the Christmas season. It’s frustrating to me to hear people complain about “the stores putting out Christmas stuff already” or “I hate this time of year.” If I had a choice, it would be December all year around. I certainly do not want to diminish the importance of Thanksgiving. It just might be my favorite holiDAY. For me, Thanksgiving is the official start of the “most wonderful time of the year.”

Wouldn’t it be awesome if ALL things began with giving thanks (as they should?)

And although I acknowledge my faith as the source of all of my Christmas spirit, I don’t think that’s the only way to enjoy the season. For some the “reason for the season” is a simple celebration of love and who wouldn’t want to join in on that experience? There is always something or someone to love. If you’re struggling in your faith, you need to fix that first and everything else will fall into place. Don’t blame God for your crappy attitude.

This might make someone mad, but I’m going to say it. If you don’t like Christmas, it’s because you’re not doing it right. There, I said it.

If Christmas is depressing, frustrating, or a financial burden, you’re not doing it right. If the season makes you sad, homesick or even angry, stop doing what you’re doing and rearrange your thinking.  Start doing Christmas right!

All of these things are going to seem logical, but sometimes we need to see things in black and white to get ourselves back into perspective.

  1. If you are worried about finances, stop spending so  money. Yes, the media might be amping up the commercialization of the holiday, but you can choose not to participate. If you buy for more than you can afford, change your list and stick to your budget. If you buy for lots of people, make a prioritized list. Chances are some the people that exchange gifts with you can’t afford it either. Have a conversation and make a different plan. Share a meal together. Plan time together or simplify the process by drawing names.
  2. If you get melancholy for “days gone by” or “wish things could be the way they used to be” get over it. Life moves on and things change CONSTANTLY! That’s the way it’s supposed to be. Most of the people I know that fall into this trap are so busying reminiscing about the “good old days” that they fail to see (and experience) the good day that is right before them.
  3. You are the only one that can “ruin Christmas.” I’m a big fan of tradition (blog post to come on my favorite Christmas traditions) but sometimes, we need to be flexible. If you’ve ALWAYS opened gifts on Christmas Eve, but can’t this year because a family member has to work… Oh well. If this is your big tragedy, you have a pretty great life. Try to get back to it next year or better yet… make a new tradition. I promise, you’ll live through it. This is especially important to remember for anyone with a growing or transitioning family.
  4. And most important of all, if you are being called into a more spiritual experience, answer the call and JUST DO IT! For people of faith the spirit of the season can be enjoyed all year-long, but you DO have to participate. Admitting that your faith is lacking is the first step to doing something about it.

I try not to give my emotions too much credence. I’m well aware that my ever-changing emotions can be governed by my diet, hormone level or even my lack of sleep. They are subject to change… constantly. That doesn’t mean that I’m not overcome once in a while. I remember the first Christmas after my mom passed away. When we went to Leroy’s grandma’s house that night NO ONE had made lasagna. (In my mind, there had ALWAYS been a lasagna for dinner.) Well, that year, no lasagna and I lost it. I was devastated. (I really like lasagna, but it wasn’t about the food, it was about admitting that my holiday would be forever changed with the physical absence of Mom.) I cried and cried. I was inconsolable. Leroy (bless his heart) wanted to make me feel better. Since I complained that I was hungry (because I refused to eat anything other than lasagna… I’m a little dramatic like that) Leroy drove around trying to find something that I would eat. Jack In The Box is the only fast food restaurant (near us) that is open on Christmas Day, so we found ourselves in the drive-thru. We ordered Monster Tacos and I slowly began to regain my composure. Now… Jack In The Box drive-thru is a Christmas tradition for us. Every year (since 2004) we make a trip into town and order Monster tacos. And we laugh at ourselves every single time. (See suggestion #3.)

If you’re not happy with the way you experience the Christmas season, change your perspective. Make a different choice. I would suggest making a list of the things you enjoy and the things you don’t. Do more of the things you like and less of the things you don’t. (I know that sounds too simple, but it’s the only thing that works.) Don’t get caught up in what others (including the media) say it should be like. Ask yourself what you want it to be and then make it happen.