All I want for Christmas (is you)

Over the years Christmas has changed for me. Yes, it’s definitely as you get older, but I think it also changes as you change, and is a reflection of your life experiences, personal values along with your goals and expectations.

Christmas is such a commercial holiday. Aside from the religious aspects of the holiday, which are very personal to each person and celebrated in a way that could involve a lot of rituals and routines, there is the also the tradition of celebrating our relationships with gifts and events.

I love a good present and meal occasion as much as everyone else, but it feels like its lacking genuineness and realism.

I love my friends and family, is a gift needed to affirm that? We celebrate other times during the year such as birthdays which are much more personal as they are dedicated to the person, so why do we just generalise this at Christmas? Plus, you end up spending a stack of money and creating a lot of stress and worry. Stress about how much to spend, how to make time to shop (don’t even start thinking about shopping centre parking) and worrying about what to buy, and whether it’s going to be liked.

It’s hard to articulate the exact reason why I still love Christmas, but I think it’s basically (for me) just an opportunity to be grateful. Grateful that I have a beautiful family who care about me and who I love being with, and grateful for my extended family and friends for the role they play in my life - from advice, fun times, holidays, knowledge and skills, aspirations and just listening.

The best way to show this gratefulness is in person. Activities like family get together’s, dinners with friends, fun cards and messages – they are the things I love. Or even just a candy cane and a chat with a favourite friends.
YES - YOU! #thanks
If you are reading this, and rubbing your hands together thinking, perfect opportunity not to buy me a present this year, then you are right! I would much prefer your company to a gift. In fact, I’m working on streamlining my life and removing the non-essential so you would be absolutely doing the right thing. Unless you are my husband, and have a light blue jewellery box stashed away. That’s still ok.

So, these are some of the ways I think you could celebrate Christmas in a different way, and with the wonderful family and friends you have.

1.     Take a short holiday together
I love a good family holiday. Doesn’t even have to be your own family. Just be the ‘missing daughter’. Seriously, how many opportunities do you have to be together with your extended family for a holiday after you leave home, or get married? You will love the memories you make, and have so much fun planning what activities you do together. For me – summer sunshine, beach cricket, lazy afternoons. Perfect.

2.     Christmas Lunch
My Aunty Bronwyn has this one nailed. So traditional – 7 vegies, 5 meats, plum sauce etc etc. It’s the meal of the year, and we love it. But what we love even more is the chance for all of us to get together. It doesn’t happen often enough so it’s even more special.

Whatever you do (seafood or traditional), enjoy it. Maybe consider inviting a friend that would be alone otherwise.

3.     Christmas Memories
I know families that plan Christmas shows, and rehearse the routines ready to present on Christmas Day. Or you could plan a Christmas movie that remembers the fun moments and interviews everyone about how they feel about life of the time. Would be great to watch them back in years to come!

4.     Volunteering / Pay it Forward
I haven’t ever done this on Christmas Day, but never say never. It would be a really special thing to share your gratefulness for a good life with people who need some support. There are loads of places looking for people to help serve up Christmas lunch. Check your local council page. Take your kids along, they will remember this forever.

5.     Christmas Event
Have you ever thought about having a big Christmas event for your extended family, friends and community? You could have a street party, or have a Christmas Carols on the lawn! It would be so much fun. Lots of candles, singing, and laughter. Bring a plate! Amazing.
Using my shoes as candle holders. Check out Bett's face...
 6.     Christmas Resolutions
I’ve even read about people making Christmas resolutions. It doesn’t feel as daunting making goals at Christmas when you are in a great, positive mind space, and you are drinking egg nog. Instead of asking for something, you could think about what you can give back, and what you want to aim for in the coming year. You might be surprised at what your kids come up with.

7.     Upcycle gifts
This is going to be a controversial one, but why not re-gift if you really want to share a present? I may be alone in this, but I have things in my cupboards that were lovingly given to me and I’ve never used. How great would you feel knowing that something you had carefully selected is actually being used. Regardless of the recipient. I’m still grateful for the kind thought, but even better is the utilisation. Share the love.

So perhaps this Christmas, consider creating memories that don’t revolve around a huge pile of gifts (and money spent), and strip back to moments of gratefulness.

We would love to hear your ideas on how to simplify and bring back the meaning of Christmas. Let us know your thoughts.


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