Hello, wonderful readers! Since it’s nearly Christmas, I thought I’d share a post from the past.
Two years ago, my good friend, Brea Essex, hosted one of my blog posts on her 25 Days of Christmas series. I thought I’d revamp the post and share it here. Hope you enjoy!
A Non-traditional Traditional Christmas
Okay, don’t freak out, but I really abhor the majority of holiday traditions—at least, those made up by the retail industry to get us to indulge in ourselves. For example, I’m not big on Thanksgiving food. I know, cardinal sin, right? My ideal Thanksgiving meal would actually be all the best quality meat I could find, cooked to perfection, and chopped into bite-sized pieces in order to dip into the made-from-scratch cheese fondue I would have bubbling on the table. And, I’d have some vegetables to dip too—can’t forget that.
I become very agitated with Black Friday and even Cyber Monday. Do we need to buy all those “goodies?” I mean, does Mom really need another food processor? Would Aunt Mable truly appreciate that quilted leather jacket just because it was half off? And, will Grandma’s garden look better with all those plastic gnomes? Maybe I sound like the Grinch, but when I hear stories of how people are held at gunpoint outside Best Buy on Black Friday and are told to give up that new PlayStation they bought, it brings a great feeling of anger to my spirit. Is this where “tradition” has brought us?
I’m the ghost of Christmas disappointment.
I get the whole décor bit for Christmas time and other holidays too, but honestly, I don’t think we need to have a winter wonderland in Macy’s in October. What ever happened to enjoying each season for what it is? What is the reason or meaning behind what many of us repeat thoughtlessly year after year? What is the meaning of Christmas?
Growing up, we didn’t always have the endless stream of presents that each child dreams of, but we always had enough—more than enough, actually. There were years that Christmastime may have appeared sparse to other onlookers, but I never knew the difference. My mom made sure that Christmas was special for my sister and I. One particular tradition comes to mind when I think of my childhood Christmases.
My mom would drive us around for an hour or so to see Christmas lights at night. We would try to find the BEST house and made our votes for the top candidates. Just spending that time together was magical. We didn’t receive anything tangible, but instead had one of the most precious commodities anyone could want—TIME. Time together. Having our mom spend time with us was the best gift I could have received. I believe there really is no price you can place on time spent with loved ones.
Sometimes, giving of yourself is the most lasting gift you can give to anyone. Out of the many gifts I’ve received over the years, the ones that I still “have” are gifts of time—presence—from loved ones. I probably have about five actual presents from past Christmases and the rest are forever forgotten. But, I will never forget the time my family has spent together over the years.
Another tradition that comes to mind is that of gingerbread house building with my sister and one of our close family friends. For about ten years, we had a tradition of building gingerbread houses from scratch. Some years, they turned out pretty sketchy…
Other years, they turned out great!
The point is: we do this to spend time together—again, the whole presence theme. So, ask yourself: what does Christmas mean for you? Is it a stressful time where you bust your budget to get things that your receiver is going to sell on eBay December 26th? Or, is it a peaceful time where you get the chance to spend time with loved ones and pour into their lives? Are you rushing around, ignoring the people right in front of you just to impress guests, or are you present in the moment? This Christmas, I encourage you to take a non-traditional approach and do something different.
What if you chose to skip on presents this year and donated money to those less fortunate? What if you cancelled that Christmas Eve extravaganza at your house and instead took your family driving around town to find the best lit house? Happiness doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, but it will cost you something—time. Taking the time to remember the meaning of Christmas and pressing pause on your busy, hectic life to enjoy what you already have is something that will never go out of fashion. So, have a very merry, non-traditional traditional Christmas!
Merry Christmas from my family to you and yours! ❤