Music, memories, scents, sounds and other reminders help make Christmas the extravaganza it is today. We don’t all agree on how much of the details are charming because we view it from personal preferences. For some, it’s too much of everything. For others, it’s fantastic, and even more would be better.
We’re not universal in our choices, so adapting and accepting are essential. Actually, that’s true of life in general. It wasn’t always that way, but childhood memories are not necessarily accurate in feelings or substance. When I reminisce about the season’s excitement, I’m remembering from my viewpoint as a child. My parents likely felt much different about it. They had additional tasks to do, more food preparation and hosts of other details I knew nothing about. Santa took care of it all, didn’t he?
Maybe that’s what’s missing from adult holidays. There’s no guy in the sky who visits once a year, stays long enough only to leave gifts, enjoy cookies and milk, never complains about what’s served and off he goes. He’s a no fuss houseguest whose prime objective is spreading good cheer and presents. What’s not to like?
Even years after the moments of truth about the jolly man and his reindeer, Christmas is still full of gifts and fun. Not exactly sure when that changes, but change it does, and suddenly we have to create our own wonder and joy. I remember reading and being told that it’s better to give than to receive, but quite honestly, it took me years to buy into that. But now, seven decades plus a year later, I feel confident there’s much truth in what initially sounded contradictory.
Celebrating the holidays is not a complicated affair. It does require thought, preparation, graceful acceptance of the less-than-perfect and most important, gratitude for what used to be and is now. A dash of hope that this isn’t the last holiday season left to celebrate, and it’s all good.
Everything starts earlier these days commercially, but that doesn’t have to mean individually we follow suit. Some folks prefer to use December’s weeks before the 25th in a spiritual manner preparing inwardly for what the holiday symbolizes to them. Christmas trees appear in some people’s front window much before Thanksgiving. And some loving and enthusiastic souls have few decorations or lights, but spend countless hours baking cookies, wrapping gifts, and writing out cards all with the purpose of sharing with others the beauty they experience and want to give to those they love.
There’s no “right” or “best” way to celebrate, but whatever our personal choices, we must remember to be respectful and kind to those who choose differently. For folks who’ve followed every tradition for years, and find their enthusiasm waning, varied ways of honoring beliefs and loved ones can be explored. Time spent reminiscing about those no longer living who used to gather around the tree pays rich dividends. Kindness, but honesty in remembering humorous details, looking at photos, or sharing the joy of a gift that lasted through many holidays is rewarding.
Christmas is but one day out of an entire year, while the spirit of Christmas can last forever. It’s our privilege to help make that happen. May the holidays bring you peace and joy!