This year created a Facebook Page: I For The Love Of Christmas. Why? because I am filled with wonderful memories of Christmases past. I am addicted to these past experiences because of the amazing impact they have had on me as child. I can remember the day I saw Santa Claus riding his reindeer in the sky. I was only 5 then, but the feeling .. The excitement.. The JOY! I felt was so overwhelming I couldn’t deny it.
Here’s the story: I was sitting on my bed on Christmas eve, too full of Christmas anticipation to sleep. I had just returned from leaving Baby Jesus under the Tree, saying my prayers and kissing him goodnight. My brother and I were sneaking conversation under the covers when we heard a noise from outside my window (we lived on the second floor). Then, I got up on my knees to look out and that is when it happened: From the corner of my eye I saw him and eight tiny reindeer fly through the sky in a beam of light. I screamed so loudly that my mom rushed into the room to see what was going on. To this day… I believe.. Some may call it an overactive imagination..however, I like to call it creating the experiences: Thus, in my life, Santa Claus rides the skies on Christmas eve.
Now, at 46 years of life, I go around wearing ugly Christmas sweaters, singing Christmas carols and dance and ring jingle bells which drive my kids crazy. I’m passing on my Christmas joy and hope to create memories my kids will cherish.
Christmas can mean many things. This week, Monica Wilcox posted an article on her blog Femme Tales – Truth with humor: Can A Former Christian Find Meaning In Christmas? (If you can, read the article before continuing). I was about to write a similar post, yet Monica describes my feelings perfectly that I do not need to repeat. She also matches my position on Christmas and how I’ve taken the bible stories and adapted them to my spirituality. There is so much I love about this time of year, and the message I love the most is: “Peace on Earth Good Will Towards Men”. What is NOT to love about wishing our fellow humans peace, love and fulfillment? I am grateful for the story of Christmas, and the story of Hanukkah.. I take what I love about any celebration and adapt it to our family traditions. This, makes our experience unique, yet ingrained in common traditions around the world.
My initial point of writing about Christmas is…. although I’m all Ho Ho Ho! And Mistletoe …. I too get discouraged, nostalgic and often lonely. I’m like many of you, who, at times, find it difficult to listen to the “Commercialism” of Christmas, and to read newspaper articles on “How Shoppers are Scroogelike this year”. Furthermore, my family (mom, dad and brother) are not so close (geographically) and everyone often feels a bit of pressure on whose house to visit and when. This year I told everyone: “Listen to yourselves, do what you feel, and no strings!” Lets do what makes us happy!
Also, finances also play a role in everyone’s stress. In our family, we have started over: A move, a separation, a new environment.. There are many whom have lost their jobs, loosing their homes and struggling to make ends meet. This year especially, I must remind myself that Christmas is not about how big the gift is…. it is the love one puts into it. My children are asking for things I cannot afford, and I told them jokingly: “Santa is on Welfare this year”.. (not literally mind you) They laugh and guffaw at my statement, because they believe Santa, (even though they are teens) can create miracles! Then every year, there is something they wanted under the tree. They know Mr. Kringle cannot provide PlayStation XYZ to all children of the world.
Watching the news the other day, I saw a bunch of Santa’s at a real Santa School! Part of the curriculum is to work with the parent to “downgrade” children’s expectations, thus, Santa doesn’t promise anymore! I really thought this was a good sign in these times of IPODS, DS’s and WII’s. Not everyone can afford to buy these things, and to be honest, I think the electronic age puts much pressure on the parents! .. but that is for another blog post.. 🙂
What I am attempting to convey is: even though Christmas can be difficult and stressful, it really doesn’t have to be. Since I’ve been volunteering at the foodbank (another future blog post) I am reminded of the gratefulness of those in need. They are SO happy to receive day old bread, old cheese, and a bag of milk. This is something that many of us often take for granted or even throw away. The smiles on those people’s faces allow me to come home humbled and thankful myself. Volunteering has allowed the Christmas spirit to resurface even though its going to be so different for us this year.
So, in the end.. Christmas spirit comes from within. We do not need to be unhappy the entire season, but we do need to acknowledge that there will be times of pain and nostalgia, and sit with those emotions awhile. Yet, denying yourself the pure JOY which Christmas brings, is, to me, a punishment you are giving yourself. Find that lost memory, find your bliss.. See a homeless man smile or a teenage runaway accept warm food… Give this Christmas the gift of love.. That, my friend, can change the world!