Friday, December 10, 2010

How I Rediscovered My Christmas Spirit

As a green blogger I get defensive about Christmas. I love Christmas! While others see over consumption and waste, I choose to focus on my love of the music, the spiritual aspects of the holiday, the decorations, and the giving of meaningful gifts.

I wasn’t always this way. For many years the build up and anticipation of Christmas day quickly faded into a ho uum, it’s just another family gathering, let’s eat kind of day. That’s not to say that I forgot the true meaning of Christmas nor that I wasn’t greatful for the gifts I received (which I have always been taught that it is a privilege to receive and not a right.)

It’s just that it’s easy to get caught up in the stress of preparing for the holiday and the notion that all of our family foibles will magically disappear on Christmas day and it will all turn into a Norma Rockwell painting.

Fortunately, Christmas shopping for ideas and items all year round has paid off in an unexpected way. My holiday stress isn’t as great because as much I try not to focus on Christmas being about gifts, the reality is that I still have to make or buy gifts for Husband’s and my immediate family which is quite large. If I waited until December, I’d be stressing and making some not so great gift choices just to be done in time.

I also lowered my holiday expectations a bit. Because well, having a magazine perfect holiday is not realistic. If you’ve ever wondered why all of the Christmas magazines and TV shows and commercials feature artificial Christmas trees, it’s because they shoot them in July!

Another thing we forget is that unlike they rest of us, those media outlets have a small army people who to make every decoration, buffet, gift, cookie, and card idea featured while the rest of us try like mad (and get mad) to replicate the whole thing on our own in the few shorts weeks before Christmas.

Not. Going. To. Happen.

And that’s OK.

I learned to prioritize what makes a holiday special for me and mine from one year to the next. Some things are must haves, some things are nice to do if there’s time, and still others are we’re a bit tired of that, let’s give it rest this year kind of thing.

I found my Christmas joy by doing what’s important to my family, realizing that there are some things I can’t change about people or situations, and opting out of those things that everyone says you should do but cause us stress or we just don’t enjoy very much – like fruitcake. Sorry I’ve never met a fruitcake I’ve ever liked. Now, frosted sugar cookies on the other hand …you get the idea.

Each year’s Christmas holiday is different from the last and that’s just the way I like it.

How do combat Christmas stress and find your joy?

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This post is part of the December Green Moms Carnival hosted by Citizen Green December 10, 2011.