I have such fond memories of Christmas as a child. We always attended Midnight Mass at Church with our parents while waiting for ‘Santa’ to arrive (and no there was no spontaneous combustion on hallowed ground-the evil came later). We were spoiled rotten with stockings filled with candy and toys when we woke up on the day (to keep us quiet until gift giving time).
We got ALL THE THINGS for Christmas under the tree and got to indulge in plenty of sweet foods (which we ridiculously deny ourselves as grown-ups).
I remember Mum baking her special home-made brandy snaps every year and waiting for them to cool enough to fill and scoff them, before heading to the obligatory family Christmas parties.
But…sadly, as you get older, Christmas starts to take on different meanings, and get spoilt by the realisation of consumerism and the fact that ‘Santa’ is supposed to have deep pockets and unlimited patience for heinous crowds of rude shoppers.
This year Christmas will be very different for me. Circumstances have changed a lot, people have changed a lot. Life…has changed a lot. So I started losing the Christmas cheer I would usually have, replaced with a bitterness for the season and what it would bring.
Over the past week…I started to think. To look for something that would give back the meaning, the real meaning of what Christmas is to me. Why do I usually look forward to this time of year?…
I love that when you are buying gifts for someone, it makes you think about those people and what they would like. It makes you think about where they are, who they are and what they mean to you.
I love giving gifts. I believe gifts should be thoughtful over expensive, selected over just ‘found’, given over swapped. I love the buying, the hiding, the wrapping, the placement under the tree, the ensuing anticipation and finally, the look on someone’s face when they open their gifts.
I love all of the trouble people go to for each other to send gifts, cards, travel, visit, make food, clean, spend time together, and then pack up and go home.
I love that people try to mend differences, get back in touch with old friends, catch up…after time gets away on us.
I love that people really think of each other, even if only for just this once a year….
I Love that we make the effort to see the people we can be with, and miss the people we cannot be with. It reminds you that they are missing…loved ones, lost ones. Missing from a time that is special and best shared with those that mean the most to us.
I love that it makes people want life to be better for others. Amidst our frenzied Christmas shopping for family and friends, people still take the time to donate to others less fortunate than themselves. Wishing trees, animal shelters, home-less, people-less, love-less others. People reach out to each other and extend kindness, not because they feel they have to, but because they want to.
It is a time to celebrate the fact that we have made it through another year, however things have changed, been made better, or scarred…and there is another one ahead.
We resolve to make the next one a better one. To improve our outlook, our lives and ourselves. So we celebrate what is, or what is to come. We appreciate, celebrate and enjoy the good things in our lives…
This is what Christmas should mean…People… Love.
So…while this Christmas will be a less than glamorous affair, and there will be a lot of things missing for me, I still wish everyone else the best of all of the above, and I am determined to remember the real meaning of it….for next time.