Every year it seems Christmas gets more and more overwhelming. Has our culture truly lost the real meaning of Christmas?
Has Christmas just become a way to boost the economy? Some retailers begin promoting it in September and some Christmas sales start in October! It also seems the lists of gift giving seem endless: the teacher, the bus driver, the postman, the boss, all your friends, all the family members, the list goes on and on. In recent years we’ve even seen people getting arrested fighting in shops over the ‘must have’ item of the year. Where does it stop?
If I’m totally honest, I spend most of the season ridden with anxiety because I am not sure if I can do it all. Buy the tree, decorate the house, plan the parties, cook the dinners, bake the desserts, travel to relatives, buy the presents, wrap the presents and all of the other work that goes along with Christmas. It is truly exhausting. As this year’s festive season looms in the not too distant future I ask myself: why do I keep doing this? Maybe we should just skip Christmas this year?
But when I stop and think about a year without Christmas, I realise how much the festive season really means to me and how important it is to keep these traditions alive. I see generations of families who make it a priority to spend this time together. In this chaotic culture we live in there never seems to be enough time, but almost everyone manages to make the time for this special occasion. Christmas can still be about the celebration of the birth of Jesus, love and family. We have to teach our younger generations that Christmas is not about getting the most or the best gifts, but about spreading the love that we have in our hearts. Is it still possible to revel in the simplicity of these moments? The answer is yes.
There is nothing that fills a mother’s heart like watching her child put his / her homemade ornament in just the right place on the tree. Or a new grandmother icing the Christmas cake with her first grandchild who is eager to help and ends up covered in red and green frosting. Or a great-grandma who has lived through over ninety Christmases and feels the joy as she cradles a new great-grandbaby. Or a young child who gets to help carve the turkey and be part of a family tradition for the very first time. As adults move around the kitchen to complete the feast, this is where young girls learn how to be a wives and mothers and boys learn how to be husbands and fathers.
Nothing compares to the excitement a young child feels as they discover that Father Christmas and Rudolf have made a big old mess in the lounge as they were delivering their presents while they slept. In these moments everything feels right with the world. A child will cherish these memories forever and will quickly forget the presents he received when he was ten.
My advice is to remember what you liked most as a child about Christmas and keep those traditions alive with your children. Don’t get caught up in the chaos of the holidays. Do what works for your family. Remember that it is acceptable to say no to a social event and it’s perfectly okay if you didn’t get a gift for everyone you know. Turn up the Christmas music and enjoy the history that you are making with your family. You’re making happy traditions which will be passed on long after you are gone. Happy Christmas to you and your family!
By Abby Rose