This Christmas time has felt very much different to any other in my adult life.
As an adult, you cherish the traditions you learnt around the season growing up, things which when you do automatically make you and your family smile still, and ones that you wonder why we do them still.
This year I think in particular as our Little one is now nearly 18 months, his awareness of life is wonderful. Every time he sees sparklingly fairy lights in the Shopping Centre hanging from the rafters, baubles hanging from trees he shouts out “Ball” and tries to grab them, he says “Oh WOW” at every Christmas tree with the decorations…the list goes on and on. Everything in his life either grabs his attention completely, or he is off to do the next thing (usually playing with his trains or cars).
Seeing how he views life – he is not at all bothered between a fancy shiny toy, or his little Thomas the Tank engine on an IKEA track – and is in wonder and happy at just being part of it, makes me want to be a fuller more rounded person. I want to be less concerned and overpowered by the world, and more in love with the simple things.
I have never really been materialistic or impressed by stature, as we wanted for nothing important growing up but were also never spoilt, so for me a few simple presents and having those I love around me makes it feel like Christmas. Actually, give me the smell of M&S Christmas Pot Pourri, The Muppets Christmas Carol on the TV, and The Partridge Family Christmas on LP playing – and I’m all set!
I don’t want to raise children that are only concerned with what toys they are getting for every day on the lead up to Christmas, or how many chocolates they are allowed to eat today from the advent calendar. I have a mutual respect for the season, as I know the reason why we celebrate the season like the back of my hand, and long for a simpler way when it isn’t all about the presents and being as “over the top” as possible with decorations or food or partying.
It has been interesting to read a few articles recently where Parents have “cancelled Christmas”, and although I think the wording of this is wrong as it suggested more “bah humbug nothing” rather than what they were actually doing which was to encourage less focus on Chocolate Advent calendars and more time & efforts together as a family. They wanted to donate time to support local charities where possible, and minimise the expense and pressure of sometimes the world around us puts on us. I can definitely relate to those type of thoughts to make the season much more “human” that it is being suggested it should be. After all, we all beat to our own drum and it is up to us individually to make every day and season exactly what makes us the most happy.
This year I thought outside the box, and instead of chocolate advent calendars we have a wooden one that has small gifts (a candle to light each night) and Little Dude has a small toy one from WOW toys to open. Too many times have I felt that Chocolate ones simply get boring after a few days, and you forget to count down the days like you used to, or worse when you are trying to hold back a toddler from eating each and every one in one sitting. I’ve actually seen though that temptation of knowing that a treat lies behind each advent door for Little Dude can be too much to take, and so the toy calendar goes away each morning so that he can appreciate it is a daily thing where he can understand to some degree anyway.
Don’t get me wrong – there is a part of me that wants to rush out and purchase every single wild idea for a gift for my husband and Little Dude, as I would give them the world to know how much they are loved BUT really do the gifts all matter once you get one or two presents at the most?
What if instead of feeling overwhelmed to have all the family over, you know the ones you don’t like and can’t stand and then dread all the cooking/cleaning/tidying up after it – you know, you just said that you would do Christmas lunch at your house then everyone can come round for a few hours in the afternoon to exchange gifts? Would your third Aunt removed REALLY disown you? Perhaps she would, but then perhaps they are the ones with the issue rather than you?
What if we set a present limit for each person and stuck to it, and it wasn’t a small fortune?
What if we decided to use our gift money to buy experiences for the family to enjoy and make memories rather than have endless toys in a house?
I found a wonderful quote today whilst sitting in work thinking about the holiday season that fits in with how I feel sometimes.
It goes like this….
Often we say “I’ll try” (and we could mean this about spending less at Christmas, or meeting up with others etc etc).
We say “I’ll try” because it gives us a pre-planned way out.
Our egos aren’t on the line.
Our pride won’t be affected when the result comes out.
After all, we are “just trying”.
However, if we say “I will” this means that no matter how much luck or charm comes our way randomly in life, time, effort & persistence will make it successful.
Based on the quote “Do it or not. There is no try.”
(Original Yoda, philosopher and avant-garde sentence constructor.)
I can take the feelings behind this quote and say that if you truly made the Christmas season exactly what makes you happiest, whether that is having no one OR everyone round for Christmas Day, buying all the presents OR none of them, staying at home OR spending the time abroad – if you apply this feeling to everything in life, it will be successful because you wanted to make it happen. And most importantly, you wanted to make it happen because it will make you and your life happier.
Life is too short, and I am thankful for all the times that my mind wanders and allows me to re-evaluate myself to be sure I’m being all I can be. I am not perfect at allowing myself to make changes happen, but I am thankful that sometimes I feel more confident to say “I will” instead of “I’ll try”.
May your festive season be stressfree and wonderful as you deserve…
Love MFF xx
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