While Christmas is a season for goodwill unto all mankind, Christmas feeling is often lost with everyone rushing around with their own pre-Christmas deadlines and where, regardless of your religious affiliations, the end of year madness is making us lose the feeling of what is the essence of Christmas.
The festive season comes with perceived must-dos and social obligations. You convince yourself that ‘It won’t be Christmas unless… ‘. Presents, food and cards are not what makes Christmas.
Togetherness, reflection and a feeling of peace should surround this special time of year. That Christmas feeling of tingling excitement and pure childhood joy seems to have gotten lost for so many of us. How can we get it back? What happened with ‘Let’s Be Merry’? Here are some tips on how to slow down, take it a bit easier and how to find that Christmas feeling again. It is there… You just have to stop, breathe and say: Merry Christmas!
Christmas Gone Crazy
I used to think that unless I had a full on Christmas Smorgasbord on the 24 December, it just wasn’t Christmas. Being married to a Brit – we then proceeded to do a Turkey dinner with all the trimmings the following day.
The count-down to these mega days included getting Christmas presents to friends and family near and far – which meant shopping, queues, wrapping, rhymes, and posting these seldom appreciated trinkets in time. It has also meant trying to find everything from herring to stuffing in far-away postings. Then the Christmas cards that just had to be sent.
On the work front, overtime was ten-fold as reports, emails, and accounts has to finished for the year-end closure. Come Christmas, I stared bleakly at the food that I couldn’t stomach, fed most of the Turkey to the dogs, and stored away unwanted gifts in my present recycling box (you have one too, I am sure 😉 )
Basta With Christmas Madness
Basta! The time spent on all this running around, money wasted on foods no-one really likes, and presents that clashes with tastes is simply exhausting. It is time to bring back cheer, enjoyment and take time to say to your loved ones that you are so grateful for their company at this very special time of the year. Let’s bring Christmas feeling back!
Or – you can enjoy a cinnamon scented tea in the best company of all: You! You get to do exactly what you want, when you want to, and no-one will be there to judge you either.
The Essence Of Christmas
If we continue to cram in too much into already maxed up schedules, we end up screaming ‘jingle hell!’. The expectation is that this serene Christmas feeling will descend upon us magically. Yet, for so many of us we end up more exhausted than joyful. The traditions become obligations, and social festivities become pressures. It all ends up making us want to hide under a blanket, and not come out until the new year.
Christmas feeling can be found again by allowing yourself to take a moment and ask why you celebrate, and what Christmas really means to you. Is it a smell, music, or child hood memories that evoke that special feeling?
Getting back to the quintessential reason for why you like Christmas, will tell you that you don’t have to perfect the marketed version of Christmas, nor fall for the feelings of must-do.
If sending Christmas cards feels like a ‘job’ then the joy is gone, and trimming the tree weeks ahead just because some tradition says so – don’t!
Ask yourself what you really like to do, eat and if you do exchange gifts – can we make it simpler? Check out the tips below on how to find back to the essence of Christmas feeling. Read on how to enjoy, rather than stress yourself into a tired heap.
Christmas: Why Do We Celebrate?
Christmas is supposed on mark the traditional anniversary of the birth of Christ, although we actually don’t know the true date for Christ’s birth. The decision to celebrate Christmas on December 25 was made by church bishops in Rome during the fourth century in an attempt to Christianise pagan populations, who lit fires to celebrate the winter solstice. Sun worship, and ‘Yule’, were traditions that early cultures enjoyed. Today we find ourselves left with a bizarre marriage of pagan and Christian elements that characterises our modern celebration of Christmas.
Christmas Presents and Gnomes
Added to the Christian message, modern time have brought new traditions like Santa and Christmas gifts. What we follow today have their roots in marketing to a high degree. Presents were exchanged symbolically in early times as a reference to the Three Wise Men – yet only in 1820s did shop owners start to realise the cash value that could be added to this time of year. The Santa Claus and Father Christmas myths took real wind in the early 1920s by changing the Nicholas gift-giving Saint into a very marketable success. The Coca Cola Company even changed the colour of his coat from green to red!
In the Nordic countries trolls, elf and house gnomes existed in very early cultural myths – and if you did not give food, presents and kindness to these invisible figures you would risk to see your crops fail, and the house could burn down.
Whatever we believe in, doesn’t take away from the fact that we enjoy traditions, yearly events and special moments. It makes our busy lives stop for a while, and allows us to enjoy. Christmas feeling is about memories, emotions, togetherness and so much more, right? It is special time, and so much more than gifts, foods and cards.
Whatever you believe in, and wherever you are – Christmas can be special again. The rushing, stress and perceived must-dos that have become synonymous with the modern holiday season needs to calm down.
There is no such thing as public hanging on account of forgetting to send Christmas cards. They do not send you to the gallows for not cooking a Turkey – and most certainly the guillotine is not brought back for not choosing the perfect Christmas gift.
Here is some tips on how to slow down, and bring back more Christmas feeling into this special time of year:
Finding Christmas Feeling
Make a list of what Christmas really means for you – and don’t include presents, food or cards on this particular list. Evoke feelings, smells and memories that make you think of Christmas, which will tell you what to bring back into new quintessential celebration.
Being with friends and family is probably right up there – which means that you will need to organise a get-together, right? Or – if the smell of hyacinths is special – get a few in and forget about an explosive decoration of the house. Try to get back what really makes Christmas special to you – and forget the perceived social obligations.
As an example let me share what some have told me Christmas means for them:
- The smell of spices, oranges and hyacinths.
- Singing of Christmas carols, and music streaming through the house.
- Visiting new-born babies in the maternity ward on Christmas Day is a particularly sweet memory for a woman whose father was a Doctor.
- Lighting of a candle for loved ones who have passed is a treasured tradition in one family.
- Making a mother put on a yellow dress each Christmas just because the children loved this particular 1970s Laura Ashley print is another cute memory.
- Midnight Mass, a beautifully set dinner table, and long-held traditional ceremonies that only happen on 24 – 25 December is what another friend sees as Christmas.
Finding the essence of Christmas is about making new traditions that work for you and your family. You need not follow what feels like a ‘must’. Invent new Christmas traditions such as reading a poem at dinner, or playing games. Do things that you normally would not. Have fun, enjoy and just be together!
Think of foods you enjoy, and modify your Christmas dinner to fit a newly found healthy lifestyle; the vegetarian; the red meat lover and Mediterranean diet you like.
In our house we no longer do a full-on Nordic Christmas spread – nor do we cook a Turkey. We pick a few healthier favourites, cook a chicken breast – and get the very best dark chocolate we can find. You don’t have to do it all! Take it to a level you can bear and enjoy!
If you are by yourself, take time to just be. No-one will tell you what to do, so just make your favourite food (Chinese, Thai, Mexican, Italian, Nordic, Indian etc) and play music, watch TV, take a bath and have a grand Me-time!
Christmas Gifts With A Difference
Steer away from Christmas gift madness, by asking each other what they really like and want. Amazon.co.uk Gift Cards are fantastic in as much as you do exchange gifts, yet get to choose what you like. So much nicer than having to save receipts for all those things that then needs to get exchanged, right?
Make purchases on-line to avoid dragging extra kilo from country to country – and again share links with loved ones of hints that you have on your wish list. Turn down the expectations, and lower the money levels – we are all living under economic pressures – so home-made jam, bread and cookies will be just fine.
Make the giving of Christmas gifts a ceremony that centres everyone’s attention for a good hour or more. Take turns to open presents, thank each other, and appreciate the thoughts that have gone into the gift, wrapping and rhymes. To throw yourself into a frantic, paper shredding heap of gift cannibalism makes for stress, and ends up a bit sad for giver and receiver.
Consider doing without gifts (at least for the adults). Exchange charities that you would support. Precious little makes a huge difference for many if you think about it.
Christmas Decoration and Lights
Christmas decorations can go way too far – and there is a lot of social pressures here. Light candles, and tie red ribbons on a few items. Keep it more low-key, and help save the planet by not turning your house into a shopping mall on ecstasy – we all know The Griswold’s (click to get the DVD;) ) , right?
If you are on your own this Christmas get out your favourites and leave the rest for next year. Buy yourself a flower and a Spa treatment – be different and enjoy your special time rather than cluttering up your house with tinsel.
Christmas cards are nice to receive, and send. If you feel this is a tradition worth keeping continue, but if you want to go digital that works too. If you have loved ones that live and work far away, a personal card with more than just one line means so much – so maybe just write a longer message to these special people. For the rest go modern and digital. Especially the younger generation will thank you for not putting them on a guilt trip. Email and Facebook works these days – so keep it digital and simply your life 🙂
Christmas Is a Special Time
The feeling of utter peace, and a time for reflection is the most common, and yet hard to get-to feeling that many look for. Christmas can be different, and you can enjoy that special Christmas feeling again.
Think about why you like Christmas. Light candles, share the moments, and concentrate on what you really like do. Take out the things that stresses you out, and turn down the expectations on ‘things’. Let’s bring back cheer! Christmas comes but once a year – let’s make it special!
Merry Christmas to all our readers from The GOODista team!
Related and Recommended:
- The Essence of Christmas – SCFI
- Why Do We Celebrate Christmas? – WhyChristmas.com
- Festive Season Wellness Tips: No Stress and Pay Less – The GOODista
- Christmas Around The World – TheNorthPole.com
- How To Enjoy Christmas On Your Own – WikiHow
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