Holiday haters gonna hate

Thanksgiving is a week away and after that, the countdown to Christmas officially begins.

Christmas time is one of my favorite times of year.  There is something that feels magical about it.  No matter how hard I fight it, it still pulls me in. The reason, the cold cozy weather, the food, the family time, the charity, the giving, the Christmas movies on TV, the smell of fireplaces going in the cold crisp winter air, cinnamon, Christmas music, anticipation of snow, and eager excited children.

I also love Christmas because I am such a nostalgic person. I remember the excitement of the season year after year as a child.  And almost every year, the sights, sounds, & smells take me back to feeling that same magic.  My heart would flutter with excitement seeing all Christmas lights & decorations, like a kid in a candy store.  Eyes wide, heart excited.  I think it’s even more magical now that I have children of my own.  In a way, it lets me re-create the magic of my childhood for a 2nd time.  Priceless.

One thing I can do without, is all of the people who complain about “the stress” of Christmas and not feeling “into it”.  Family members, friends, co-workers, all have their complaints: stores are too busy, shopping

is too rushed, cooking is overwhelming, gift giving is stressful, in-laws are unpleasant, etc.  It’s become customary to say that we are “so busy with the holidays” anytime anybody asks you how you are doing, even if you aren’t busy.  I’m guilty of this often.  The gasps I would hear if I actually said I was enjoying the season and I didn’t feel an ounce of stress.  People would think I was nuts.

We are all entitled to our opinions and we are all allowed to vent and complain from time to time.  However, my message to those people who year after year complain about Christmas, is 6 simple words that have been spoken many times before… Life is what you make it.  Period.

I remember some years ago, it became a CHORE to shop for Christmas.  I was so stressed out about spending money that I didn’t have and picking out things that people would like, that I literally HATED Christmas.  Why?  Because I was unconscious, like a lemming, swept up in the frantic glittery frenzy.  I lost sight of what was really important about the season.  I let myself get hung up in expectation & what society (& myself included) was feeding me about what the season “should” be like.  Shopping, Shopping, Spending, Spending, Consuming, Consuming, Stressful.  Rushed. Expensive. Busy. Elaborate. Forced. Unpleasant.

It took me several years to step back from that way of thinking and say, okay what do I want to take away from & make out of this season?  What does it mean to ME?  What do I WANT it to mean to me?  What is really important? And lastly, but probably most important now, what do I want my children to appreciate most about this season?  The answers became clear.  Not gifts.  Not shopping.  Not consumerism. Not over indulgence. Not STRESS.

Just like all the other cliché sayings out there:  Perception is Reality.  Life is not what happens to you but how you react to what happens to you.  Yada Yada Yada. But if you think about it, it makes perfect sense.  If you ALLOW yourself to be swept up in the materialism of Christmas, what the media sells you, what those around you expect or impose on you, then of course you will feel out of control of it all and stressed out.

Although, I’m sure that when I get to the point of cooking huge meals for the family, my kids, their kids, etc. in the future, I will be singing a different tune.  But for right now, I’ve got sight of “it” and I hope it lasts.

If you’re one of the HATERS, the next time you say “I hate Christmas time”, think about why?  Examine your own internal thinking.  Do you hate the gift-giving/shopping?  Do you hate your own self-imposed expectations?  Perceived expectations of others?   Do you hate that you’ve bought into society or the media’s idea of it, instead of defining what it will mean to you & what you will take from it?  Does the season have any deeper meaning to you or is it just a required routine? Or do you just simply hate the colors red & green together? Hey, it could just be that simple. LOL!

I think it’s hard to really enjoy something without having a personal reason to celebrate it.  It’d be like celebrating Julia Robert’s birthday every year but having no idea why, just going with the flow.  Kinda pointless, eh?

Again, Life [Christmas, or insert noun here], is what you make it.

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