I love Christmas. Want to know why? Because a couple of decades ago I decided to remove the real stressor of the holiday season – people who piss me off. Christmas for me has come to mean time with my daughter and my husband, my animals, my friends, my family when we can get together, although we all have our own families now, so it's a little tough. I fill my holiday time with laughter, and long heartfelt chats, and cocktails...lots of cocktails. For me, Christmas is a celebration of life and all that with which I have been blessed. I’m not a religious person, but I do love to reflect on the spirit of the holiday. I’ve even been known to go to a Christmas Eve service once in a while. Is there any time of the year that is more wonderful than Christmas Eve? Not for me.
It makes me sad to hear how completely frustrated and anxious people become this during the month of December. I understand that for some, their angst may be family or other people who loom large in their life. And yet, for others it’s the endless cadre of idiots behind the wheel of a car, or barrelling through the shopping malls without a thought or a care for anyone who gets in their way. It's all about them, no one else. Everyone’s “trigger” comes in a different form. Whatever form it comes in for you, you should exorcize it from your holidays, LIKE RIGHT NOW.
I think somewhere in the holiday mayhem, it is easy to forget one simple but profound tidbit. No matter what you celebrate – Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Festivus (pick one) – that time of the year is supposed to be, well, fun. It’s a time to reflect on your life and take stock in all the things that are near and dear to your heart. It’s not about dreading the arrival of your in-laws, or dealing with your great aunt who insists on intruding into every aspect of everyone’s life, or listening to your grandmother ask one more time about when you are going to settle down. It’s not about the gifts, or who makes the best cookies, or whose spouse has been the most overzealous in his gift purchases. Take my word for it, no one really cares. Quite frankly, there is little more irritating than those who are constantly trying to “one-up” everyone around them in order to make them feel better about themselves. Not only is it annoying, it’s just plain sad. Those folks need to just be thankful they have someone in their life who cares about them that much. Chances are, if they need to declare that loudly what they have or what they got, then I am guessing the one thing they are sorely lacking are real friends.
Holiday shopping your stressor? Don’t do it. Order what is absolutely necessary (say, for your kids) online and leave it at that. Years ago, my family made a decision that the adults would not buy each other presents. The only presents we buy are for each other’s children. You know what? It took about 80% of the holiday madness out of my life. And really, what do any of us really need anyway? I know, as for myself, I can go out and get anything I really need on my own. And eliminating the endless gift buying cuts down on what ends up being everyone exchanging the same money between each other, be it a present, a gift card, or cash. Really feel like giving someone something for the sake of giving? Bake some cookies, knit a scarf, or better yet, how about giving some of your time to that person. I guarantee it will mean more to them than any gift you could possibly give.
If it is family that sets your hair on fire and makes you wish Christmas would just go away then I have an idea. Don’t spend Christmas with your family. Plan a trip, or just stay at home and spend the holiday with someone who DOESN’T make your life hell. If you’re not enjoying the time, then you need to do something else with it. There is one thing the holidays are not supposed to be, and that is miserable.
The holidays are about children, and watching their faces light up on Christmas morning. It’s about meeting up with friends for some special time together. So often that little bit of time spent together reminds you of how lucky you are to have such incredible people in your world on a day to day basis. I am blessed with some amazing friends, and an extraordinary family. I wish the same for everyone else. I make sure that every Christmas is exactly how I want it to be, and that it is a happy and joyous occasion. Tomorrow is promised to none of us, and that simple fact is not lost on me. Make the most of this holiday season, and do the things YOU want to do. I promise you will return to work on January 2nd not feeling drained and exhausted.
May the peace and joy of this holiday season fall like snow on you and your families. To my closest and most trusted friends, I could not imagine my life without each and every one of you crazy fools. To my family, you will never know how much I love and appreciate you, not just at Christmas, but every single day of the year. To my daughter, thank you for making every Christmas since you were born the most special holidays of all. And to my Bill, thank you for loving me unconditionally, with all your heart, and allowing me the room to be who I really am. You are my one true love, and you always have my heart in your back pocket.
Merry Christmas everyone.