I am looking forward to Christmas this year. For me this means the annual get together of my crazy family close to a beach somewhere….hopefully. Christmas is more than the exchange of gifts…. it allows me to reconnect with my loved ones over some good food and drink (which would be good whiskey to get any family debate going). Just for a day or two we can let go of our skeletons, our egos, our fears and insecurities and our diets…we can just BE… I know it also makes my kids incredibly happy by inviting Santa to the festivities because of course he exists 😉 . Tis the season to be jolly….Right!!!.
This is the ideal situation but I can’t help think that for many of my friends, Christmas also represents a time of mourning of loved ones or sad remembrance of tragedies or reminder of their unfortunate circumstances. Many families are possibly working and cannot be with their loved ones or are faced with increasing debt coupled with the pressures to spend a lot of money on gifts. Over the years I have realized that Christmas is really what you make it, regardless the circumstance, your financial position or what the media or other institutions portray as a “perfect” Christmas. Coming from humble beginnings, when I was younger, I didn’t receive the gifts I wanted for Christmas compared to my more privileged friends. Lol, I remember writing countless letters to Santa (cos he does exist 😉 ) requesting a Barbie doll, Ride My Little Pony, the baby which cried and pee’ed like a real one (forgot it’s name)…with promises to be good. What I did receive instead was the consistent unconditional love of two parents who sacrificed so much so that I could become the person I am today. That was their gift to me every year and that is what I came to realise was and still is my Christmas!! Here are some of the things that have contributed to me having a more meaningful Christmas each year which I thought I would share with you:
– Extend kindness and generosity to others who need it. Not only will it benefit the receiver but it feels good and will enhance your well being. There is a Chinese proverb that says: If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a month, get married. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime…help someone else.
– Make amends with those who you are in conflict with and most importantly forgive…you will let go of the hurt, anger and resentment and move forward.
– Show gratitude for every aspect of your life. List at least 5 things you should be grateful for this year, you may even surprise yourself and think of more. It will remind you of the positive things in your life and make you a happier person.
– Celebrate the lives of those that you have lost and rejoice in their memory.
– Be kind to yourself, don’t be your own critic. Accept that you are beautiful, intelligent and confident.
– Take deep breathes and consciously let go of the pressures and stresses that have burdened you during the year (at least for that day). Be present and enjoy the moment even if it’s temporary. You practice this enough times it will become a way of living.
– Work within a budget. Be honest with yourself and others on what you can or cannot afford. People will be more understanding than you think.
– Play (literally) with your children, their energy and optimism and simplistic thinking may even make you feel lighter about life.
– And lastly find reasons to laugh and smile…its good for the soul!!
Have a great festive and happy holidays!!!!