The silly season is upon us once more and the celebrations will be starting shortly, but is it possible to stay mindful and present during the Christmas season?
Yes you can with a few minor tweaks you can have a much more mindful and in the moment Christmas.
Remember everyone has their own agenda.
This is a big one I’ve had to learn hard over the past few years. Everyone one has an image of how they want Christmas to be, including what food, what presents, what people talk about, how everyone will act, what photos will be taken etc. A lot of families clash over Christmas because everyone wants it their way. We need to drop the expectations and just go with the flow, see what happens on the day. If everyone wants to play “Cards Against Humanity” then go with it, if a family member can only show up for an hour than let them and enjoy the hour they’re there instead of laying on the guilt trip, if the computer doesn’t connect to the Internet to call overseas on Christmas Day try again later and enjoy the company of the ones who are in the house, if someone wants to bring a dessert but you want to be the centre of attention with only your food on show just get over yourself and let that person bring the damn dessert especially if that dessert took hours to make and they enjoy making Christmas food (all examples of Christmas past in my family). People put so much pressure on having the perfect Christmas, the perfect Christmas is enjoying each other’s company and dropping the expectations they will act a certain way – they don’t know how you want them to act they cannot read your mind.
Do you really need presents?
Presents are becoming so overrated. People trying to outdo each other, or you go out of your way to get someone what they want and all you get is coloured socks and a tissue box cover (worst present ever). We all have more than enough stuff in our homes and most of us just go and buy what we want when we want it anyhow. The last 2 Christmas my brothers and I haven’t been buying each other gifts instead we all go out to lunch in the January (sans kids). It’s been so nice to have a day where we all catch up instead of just giving each other gifts cards or exchanging money. If there is something you really want ask a few people to combine together. One year I want a new camera so my family and inlaws all went in together and combined both my birthday (only 4 days before Christmas) and Christmas and I was able to get one present that I really wanted. This year my 2 of brothers are going in together for my birthday and getting me a massage voucher and my parents and inlaws are combining together to get me a custom made dress and skirt. That way I’m only getting 3 presents over the whole lot but its 3 things I really want. Also buying experiences for people is a great idea, I love getting my massage voucher every year and my inlaws love getting a dinner voucher from us to a different restaurant each year. One of my brothers buys my parents musical tickets, this year he’s getting them Aladdin tickets. We got my dad last year a season pass to the Waratahs games, he loved it as he got to enjoy it for weeks instead of just adding some new trinket to the shelf.
It’s your Christmas too
I think some parents forget it’s the kids Christmas too, as thing have been done a certain way for so many years. Now that we are all older and married and have kids, it’s becoming harder to fit everything in. Last year we went to church then lunch at my mum’s but could only stay about 1.5 hours as we needed to get over to MJ’s family as they were having lunch too and half the family was leaving about 4:30pm to head to another family dinner. We were so dead by the end of the day that I struggled to enjoy any of it as I was rushed off my feet (didn’t help I was 5 months pregnant either). This year I just had to say no we cannot come on one day to everyone it’s just too hard and my sister-in-law said the same (she’s got 3 kids). You need to do what works for you as well, yes be flexible but you can only do so much. Thankfully this year we are visiting one family on Christmas Day and then the other family Boxing Day so our little Star Boy will end up with 2 Christmas this year.
You don’t have to do it all
If you have lots of friends and family spread it out and push some into January if you can. Try to space them out and allow a few days in-between if possible. Relax, sleep, bake at home, journal, and exercise – take care of yourself too.
The most important thing you can do this Christmas is relax, go with the flow and have fun. Remember what Christmas is all about – the birth of Jesus. Don’t get snowed under (pun intended) with all the trimmings and trappings of Christmas, connect with your heart and keep God as the central focus and the rest is just icing on the top of a wonderful yummy Christmas cake.
Photo source here