4 Reasons why you should go completely overboard this Christmas
Christmas is here! I will never forget my first Christmas after becoming a parent. I have always been someone who goes big at Christmas time but I never knew pure unadulterated joy until my little girl started opening her Christmas presents that first year. Suddenly the spirit of giving took on a whole new dimension. Kids just make Christmas a thousand times more joyous, a thousand times more cheerful and a thousand times more fun.
However, lest we forget: we are not children… we are adults. And it is our job to maintain sanity. It is our responsibility to teach our children that moderation is key. A little restraint, especially at this time of the year, is something we should all aspire to…
…NOT!!! Excuse me while I pour another glass of wine and then I will tell you exactly why we should do the exact opposite and go completely overboard with the Christmas celebrations this year.
- Life is too short not to celebrate at every opportunity
Life in adult-world is tough. We rarely get a chance to just let down our hair and really connect with the ones we love. Most of us had a Sweet-16 and an epic 21st birthday party and after that we just grow up and become responsible reasonable adults. At a certain age the only time we really have a proper get together is at weddings and funerals. And if, like me, you are at that age where everyone is pretty much married the outlook becomes a bit depressing.
So I say DON’T wait until it’s too late to celebrate with the ones we love. No more moderation. Pull out all the stops. Get your kids involved and make all the tacky Pinterest crafts. Cook and bake and PLEASE set a beautiful table. Decorate a gorgeous tree and wake up early when the kids jump on your bed with excitement. Make the most of every moment because the beautiful wrapping paper might end in the trash but the memories will last a lifetime.
- Teach your kids about giving
I was chatting to a very dear friend of mine recently and to my horror she informed me that we are “not allowed” to buy them or their kids presents this year. I repeat: THERE WILL BE NO GIFTS. They are teaching their children that Christmas is not about presents. Except, my wonderful friend, Christmas is ALL about presents! Christmas is ALL about the biggest Gift ever given. I understand where you are coming from but I truly think you are approaching the lesson all wrong.
The lesson is not that we shouldn’t get anything, the lesson is that we should give with a happy heart. The lesson is that we shouldn’t just buy something for the sake of giving it, but truly spend some time to get or to make something for our loved ones that will mean something to them. Find or create something that your special person will love and make sure you wrap it beautifully. It doesn’t have to be expensive. It doesn’t have to be big. It does have to be full of love and joy and anticipation and thanks. And then take it past Christmas – let the giving pour over into the rest of the year.
- We have to remember our traditions.
Christmas is all about tradition and what better opportunity to teach the next generation a little bit about your family’s customs and beliefs. My grandparents, for instance, left the gift-unwrapping for Christmas morning and even then we didn’t just dive into the pile of pretty packages under the tree. First all the grown-ups had coffee and tea and then my grandpa read from the bible and we sang traditional Christmas songs. As the grandchildren grew older we even performed a little nativity scene for the grown-ups. After opening the gifts, we had the biggest most delicious Christmas lunch and then three generations spent the rest of the afternoon playing action cricket.
Thinking back today I can barely remember one gift I received (and with such a big family there were plenty!)
What I do remember is waking up on Christmas morning and running next door to grandma’s house to help her put out her best tea cups. I also remember crying extra hard when I inherited that tea-set about 20 years later.
I remember always choosing my prettiest dress to wear because for two years running I played Maria and she was having the baby Jesus so she had to look absolutely beautiful. I find it really strange that all the other cousins don’t even remember my pretty dresses. They only remember that Maria was so bossy she was even shunting around the angel Gabriel telling him where to stand and when to announce the birth. Either way, nativity scene or not, until today my sister and I always wear our prettiest dresses on Christmas day.
I remember the amazing lunches with cold meats and devilled eggs and at least 47 different types of salad.
I remember it being my turn to bat one Christmas afternoon and hitting a six. My dad caught it with one hand and then did his best to pretend he dropped it so I wouldn’t have to be out. Of course my very serious cousin would have none of it and practically banned both of us from playing for the rest of the day because we didn’t respect the rules. We ended up sitting on the side lines, chatting and eating too much of my aunt’s trifle the rest of the afternoon. Best day ever.
- We have to create new traditions.
Memories are wonderful. Memories are also the reason that Christmas is such a sad time for so many people. We get so stuck in the “good old days” when things “were perfect” that we forget it is up to us to continue old traditions and to continuously start new ones. We brood about another year gone by with mistakes and worries and we ask ourselves if we really should be celebrating after so much misery in the world and in our own lives. We miss those that cannot spend the day with us any longer and mourn them instead of celebrating what they left us with: values, love and even sometimes a tea-set.
The thing is, Christmas is all about renewal and forgiveness. It is about miracles happening even when all seems bleak. It is about the biggest Miracle ever happening about two-thousand years ago when things were pretty miserable and humankind had little to no hope. It is about a baby being born in a manger and growing up to give us not only a second chance but a third and a fourth and a fifth. To say sorry to those we hurt. To mend relationships. To forgive. To try again.
So I say go overboard this Christmas! Remember your traditions, and celebrate your loved ones, but don’t let it stop there: create new traditions and let your children have amazing memories of their own. How about letting the kids wrap an extra present for someone outside your circle of family and friends every year: someone in an old-age home… an abandoned baby… a puppy at an animal shelter. Or prepare the Christmas breakfast/lunch/dinner together. You can incorporate singing and storytelling into the tradition somewhere – these two elements never fail to involve and enchant people. Whatever you do, involve everyone and do it with love kindness and maybe a little silliness at the right place and time.
I can’t wait for Christmas morning. The excitement as the kids wake up and the anticipation of a special family member opening that gift that you really put a lot of thought into. The food and the twinkling lights. The laughter and the love. And the cup of tea I will have last thing before bed, using grandma’s Royal Albert cup with the purple flowers.
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