What Ruins Your Christmas?


A little while ago, I overheard a conversation between two people about holiday shopping. They were lamenting the running around and deciding what to get and how much they were spending and THEN getting it all wrapped up and ready to go. One of them commented at the end of the conversation, “It really almost ruins Christmas, you know?” The other person solemnly agreed. I was left speechless.

I know it’s likely that they weren’t even considering the words they used, and technically they did say “almost”. However, those of you who’ve read more than a few of my posts know that I regular comment about the words we choose to use. In this case, maybe the words don’t directly affect the health and well-being of the person using them, but then again, maybe they do.

Are they taking for granted the fact that they have time and money to run around holiday shopping for family and friends? Are they grateful for the fact that they have family and friends to shop for? Do they think about the fact that there are people out there who don’t have a festive tree set up in their homes, and who haven’t done any Christmas shopping because it’s all they can do to afford food?

What “ruins” a holiday for someone, particularly Christmas? A difficult shopping schedule? Or putting away the special ornament you bought for the baby that was never born? Too many family members to buy presents for? Or wondering what to do with the gift you bought for your father who just passed away? Too much prep work for Christmas dinner? Or wondering if you’ll have anything to eat on Christmas Day?

Don’t forget that other big holiday we just celebrated that maybe sometimes gets lost in perusing glossy store ads and early morning “doorbusting” shopping sprees. Once the leftovers are gone and Black Friday passes, it is still the season to be thankful.



Why Celebrate?

MP900422102Now that the holidays are over, we have a bit of a break from what can sometimes seem like an overwhelming amount of festivities. Over the years, my opinion of holidays has ebbed and flowed. My first Christmas that I was working at a retail book store in a large mall, I loathed the holiday season. The only reason we had any Christmas decorations was because my mom sent over a table top fiber optic Christmas Tree.

Now that I live several states away from my closest family members, holidays around here are pretty low key. While I appreciate being able to lay low and not worry about who’s house to arrive at when and fitting parties into work schedules and all that, I confess that I do miss the bustle and busy-ness of visiting family and hyperactive, Christmas-supercharged children. At the same time, a quiet day of painting or reading is a pleasant little Christmas gift to myself.

MP900422657There’s a great deal of media hype about the so-called war on Christmas, which mostly boils down to a war of words about whether your Christmas should be merry or your holidays happy or your Yule Log bright. I think that despite the general negative press that the holidays get, the hype about how commercial and material they have become, and all of the general griping that goes along with it all, the holidays are good for us.

We all tend to work too hard, think too hard, feel too tired and crabby, too many days of the year. No matter how you choose to celebrate any holiday, whether you are one to throw a huge gala event, a family feast or celebrate at home with a good book, what’s important is that you allow yourself to have a little celebration in your life.

Celebrate the big things like Christmas and Thanksgiving, but celebrate the little things, too. Celebrate your birthday. Instead of lamenting your age, feel grateful that you have one more year of life to live and dreams to dream and chances to do the things you aspire to do.

MP900309665Celebrate the first robin of spring. Celebrate small successes and big victories. Celebrate births and milestones and anniversaries.

The choice to celebrate the good bits of life makes it a little easier to get through the mundane bits, and makes it easier to survive the rough times. It’s part of all that we do that helps us balance our lives, find new strength, and recharge our batteries.

So, it doesn’t matter if you want to celebrate something by dropping a few thousand bucks on gifts, or by having a cupcake at your desk, or by having a nap. Find ways to celebrate all that is good and right with the world.

Now, I think will celebrate completing this blog post. Perhaps with nap. 🙂