What do you do during the holidays because you are “suppose to” vs. because you really want to? What would you really like to do instead?
Being Wise… taking in the wisdom across generations
by Christine, age 37
Thankfully, like George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, I got a second chance when my old unhappy life ended at the age 30. While I didn’t get my wake up call from an angel named Clarence, I did realize that I didn’t need all this Christmas ornamentation and hoopla to be happy. I got real about the fact that my over-drive of Christmas activities had been a way to make up for my unhappiness the other 10 months. Deep inside, the reason I had loved the holidays so much was that it gave me the opportunity to express all the love and happiness that I couldn’t the rest of the year… like it had been stored up for months just waiting to be released.
Over the last seven years, I shed all but 1 box of Christmas ornaments, I now keep my white lights up all year long, and I express my love and joy all year-long. I create my own Holiday rituals and gatherings based on what the holidays mean to me. This year I flew to Chicago in early December to give and receive the gift of spending time with two little girls I love to pieces… I bought a jingle bell bracelet that makes me smile… I will celebrate Winter Solstice on Dec 21st in the mountains reflecting on the year past and creating the year to be… I will spend December 25th with my soul partner and my dog remembering all that I am grateful for (and drinking fabulous wine and eating delicious food)… and I will give only those gifts that I feel inspired to give.
I don’t make any excuses or apologies to anyone for not being or doing what I “should.” I express my choices with the holiday spirit and from a place of love, and let them do with that what they may. My holiday wish for all of us is to be and act from the truest place within ourselves, where we express the holiday spirit of love, laughter and connection while doing what brings us joy.
“What do you want from santa this year Olive?”, says some crazy person.
“Um…well Santa’s not real but I want-” “WHAT!?!?!?! Of course Santa is real! He always brings me presents!”
“Uh, I’m 13 and I found out that Santa wasn’t real when I was 8”
“AWWWWW BOO-HOO! You’re hurting my feelings! Santa’s real!”
“Well he’s not real and…well…yeah I gotta go ask my mom something.. uhh yeah”
I swear this happens EVERY holiday season. I don’t like to be that annoying teenager who rolls her eyes at people but come on! It’s ridiculous. I should not have to take that kind of harassment. I could see if maybe I was 5 but 13? I may think poo is hilarious but in this case I definitely am having to say GROW UP. I think it’s funny how my parents will still label things from Santa but that’s just for my little sister because she really does think that everyone gets presents from Santa. She even thinks that Santa’s reindeer poo in our house judging by her reaction to my step-mom putting chocolate covered raisins on the floor. Now that was funny. I encourage everyone to embrace the holidays with welcome arms, but please, don’t insist that Santa gives me my presents. If he did I would have everything ever made by Vivienne Westwood, Betsey Johnson, and Marc Jacobs. So chillax.
Christin, age 25, says:
This particular holiday go round I feel like Cindy Lou Who from The Grinch when she sings, “Where are you Christmas? Why can’t I find you? ….” I feel like the whole she-bang is one big fat ‘supposed to’. I mean really; parties, gift exchanges, family dinners, decorating, cleaning, fancy work get together’s, presents, wrapping, baking – Even reading the list is exhausting! Why do we do this to ourselves? What is the point?
One of my favorite Christmases was the year I got snowed in with my boyfriend. We woke up with no presents, warm cups of coffee and fresh snow. I remember the magic of the morning being with someone I loved so deeply and the feeling that the world was fresh and anew and special just for us.
All the other rubbish – sure I missed it a little. Okay, I missed it a lot – but it was a nice change to keep it so simple. What I want this year is to remember that the resonance of the season is uncomplicated; Love, Family, Friendship, Laughter. I want us, especially as women, to hold those as priorities. To keep those as the Why’s and let the What’s fall into place on thier own.
And when we don’t show up to the proverbial Holiday Soirees held by our local Seasonal Sandy’s (whom you know deep down, we don’t really like anyway) – I think we might just enjoy that egg nog, take more than one pleasurable sigh, and smile.
I have to say that I usually do exactly what I want for the holidays. This wasn’t always the case. There was a time I definitely tried to recreate my mother’s version of Christmas, complete with pie crusts made from scratch, perfect Christmas cards, and tons of cookies and gifts for everybody I knew. Now I try to keep all that to a minimum. I think the pressure to make
everything all Martha Stewart comes from the frenzied need to feel like we have all of this community and attention around us. Also, the pace seems to completely speed up this time of year and I am sure that adds to it. Let’s face it, the stores are playing Christmas carols before Thanksgiving complete with messaging that instructs us to show how much we care by going into credit card debt to buy more than we can afford. But the thing for me is I found the more I tried to do all that stuff, the less fun I would have and Christmas became about achievement, not Fa La La.
So I have a tree, I send some cards, buy a few gifts and really try to enjoy myself without
guilt. And for those people I didn’t reconnect with via phone, email or cards, I will when the time is right. I think it makes it about calming down and simplicity and really enjoying my friends, kids and family. This year, my sister and I only giving each other’s children one book, which is great, because I really hate the Disney store.