I greet one and all a very “Merry Christmas,” loud and clear. Not just Happy Holidays. The reason for having holidays during the month of December is because we are celebrating the birth of the Infant Jesus, the son of God, born of the Virgin Mary on December 25th. The word Christmas refers to the name of Jesus Christ, our Lord. This celebration has a deeper and divine meaning than the other holidays that we are observing throughout the year. In this festive occasion, we share the spirit and true meaning of the season with awe and wonders. The most joyful time of the year!
The Christmas holidays are a time for friends, family, and delicious foods for gatherings. We share the fun, and enjoyment with traditions. But above all, it is a time for reflections, gratitude and giving that should give us the inspiration to focus our attention on things that matter, a deviation from materialistic tendencies onto excessive commercialism. As we grow older or mature, we begin to realize and feel that happiness is linked more to giving than receiving gifts.
Signs of the Season and the Balancing Act
The shopping-day countdown to Christmas has started. Take some time from shopping this season to contemplate many of the other elements of Christmas. With holiday decorations appearing in stores as early as September, it’s easy to get caught up in the festive frenzy, buying spree, and stress of holiday preparation. The name of the game is all about balance. We’ve lived long enough to understand this. In setting priorities, we decide in advance what is most meaningful to us and our family about the Christmas season, focusing our celebrations around those priorities. We cannot be tied to traditions forever. Our Christmas traditions are fine if they provide enjoyment. We can talk with our family about what traditions and themes are really important to all and are still consistent under our present situation.
On over-scheduling of activities. Do we get extra points for how many appearances we make during Christmas celebrations? Our holiday breaks are meant for quality time for personal, family and friends’ enjoyment. Importantly, we make our holidays a time of family togetherness without being constantly on-the-go. Down time is an essential part of maximizing our holiday joy, not hurried nor stressful. It used to be the more parties we attend, the merrier. Not anymore, baby. Tapos na tayo diyan. Now, we choose our social activities based on what we want to do rather than what we think we must do. No more politically correctness on this matter.
Balancing our books, in fact, is equally important. Managing money is stressful enough without adding huge post-holiday debt to our worries. Do we really need to buy gifts for people like our child’s teacher or distant relatives? Of, course, it is a personal choice and decision to make, but as a tip, some mothers help their children make some of their gifts. Yes, we do need to set a comfortable budget for our family, regardless of what other families and family members are doing. We can then determine how to make the most of it. Hindi ito parang paligsahan.
All Is Calm
Find serenity all though out the celebration of Christmas. Perhaps this busy season can be an ideal time to master staying present. By practicing moments of mindfulness all through these times, we could learn to stop having negative thoughts that trigger stress. Whether we are shopping at the last minute or setting the table for more people than we have chairs for, helps to stay centered. The mindful practices of paying attention to our thoughts and emotions puts us in-charge that won’t make us start to spin out of-control. Yes, most of the time, impatience or annoyance trigger stress. What is the most practical thing to do? Shift focus away from the stress that’s causing them. The key is to just notice and not judge.
This, Too, Shall Pass
The idea behind all these mindful practices is to accept what’s actually happening rather than worrying what could happen in the future. Resisting the current reality, as frustrating as it might be, only increases our suffering. We shall constantly think of the phrase, “This moment, too, shall pass.”
To enjoy the celebration to the fullest, we as a family shall bring cheers and warmth to our home during the Christmas gathering, focusing on the spirit of love, kindness and generosity. With an old fashioned Christmas, I shall let the warm, traditional colors of Christmas fill our home with cheer; overflowing stockings (even for adult children), a twinkling tree and the glow of candlelight create a cozy, inviting festive feeling; I’ll express my creativity by using tried-and-true ideas in new ways or handmade decorations that add joy, whimsy and a sense of another time to the holiday like: old Christmas cards get a new life on a merry wreath or a personalize place settings of an store-bought wooden ornament, stamping an initial on it for each of us; and a lovely illumination from glimmering candles adds beauty to adorn the dinner table.
A Christmas Wish to All
May all the days of all the years that God may have in store be filled with joy and peace to bless you more and more. May the happiness of Christmas be in your heart to stay, and to brighten all you moments long after Christmas day. From my family to yours, Merry Christmas!