Sunday, January 5, 2014

CHRISTMAS .....UNWRAPPED...... 2014........


I was traveling around the blogosphere and saw that many people were blogging about Christmas and the "let down" that comes after the holidays for many.   The end of the "chaos" and decorations, the dying trees and poinsettias,  back to school, back to work .... and reflections on the year that has once again quickly passed before they knew it.

and then there are the bills, the bills that remind you , how much you spent, how much you owe and how much work its going to be to "catch back up" from the holiday crunch.

I spoke the other day to my girlfriend (MEL) who stated to me that she does not CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS  at all.    She doesn't  "do decorating"  "cards" "presents" etc. and her reasoning is that she does not want the guilt and does not want to give her children guilt about the holidays.  She is "done" with the Santa Claus thing because her children are all grown, and that is now "not her problem."   She doesn't buy her soulmate a gift and he doesn't buy her one.  She said it got to the point where they just told each other what they wanted and they may as well just be buying  what they want for their own self and that be that.      What she does instead is help out her children throughout the year ,  and her children often do things for her,  more of a RAOK , than a gift and that means more to her than "the Christmas thing."

I pondered on her words and found myself being a bit jealous that she doesn't have the bills , the buyers remorse,  the extra stress and everything else that comes with the holiday season starting with Thanksgiving and Ending (?) does it end?

I have always LOVED Christmas,  I have more than the average bear's collection of ornaments (mel has already passed hers along to her children to enjoy) .   I don't normally take a lot of photos on Christmas Day,  of people opening their gifts, I find that I enjoy the moment more to NOT take photographs (one of the few occasions) .    When my children were small we videotaped them (VHS) instead.   I have some photos of the season though.   I never get tired of the Christmas Story in the bible, the Christmas Movies, and the plays / theatre performances  of the grinch, nutcracker, scrooge etc.   I love the PEACE and the MAGIC that comes with the season.  I even love the tacky jewelry.

I enjoy a beautiful Christmas Even meal and a Church service on Christmas Eve.

My favorite way to celebrate is to TRAVEL .  I have traveled several places on Christmas and over the Christmas season and those adventures are most prevalent when I think back on Christmas's past. They are so memorable.

I am sure that it is FREEING to give up the holiday and the stress associated with it.  Sometimes I wonder what would happen if I did exactly that?    My father did that in a way in the years before he died.   He put money on a tree and made a money tree $20 bills and 1 - $100 bill..... and anyone that visited him that day (as he cooked a most scrumptious meal) got to get a "bill" from the tree, the $100 bill was either for the first or the last person (before he went to nap) that came over.  He did not buy any gifts for years.   I honored his memory last year with the "big kids" in mine and my boyfriends family.   Everyone came by to see us.   This year I didn't make a money tree and we still got visitors but some were missing and I didn't see at all...... and still haven't......

I always do my best to help at least one family that is less fortunate than I at Christmas time, and there are many.   In past years I have adopted families and people all over the untied states. I have given to troops, elderly, children, families and homeless.   This year I gave money to Salvation Army, and then I adopted a friends Granddaughter and spread the love and giving with some of my REAL LIFE FRIENDS that joined me in the effort to make the 11 year old girl's dreams come true .   Only a few responded to the call......but those that did will be blessed 10x over I am sure .

I was born in the CITY OF LIGHTS ,  notably a small town that knows how to THROW DOWN for the Christmas Season.  Lights, dancing , festivities, decor, outfits, fireworks and OMG great time.  Could I just "give that up?"  

I love to visit CHRISTMAS TOWN in VA .  It is most magical and the hot chocolate is to die for!

I find that the spirit of giving is what makes me the most joyous ..... of all.......its those little things.
and the new ELF ON THE SHELF ,  we cannot forget HER the DIXIE PIXIE AKA "Shimmer La Roux"  who added an extra element to my Christmas Season.  ..... and a laugh or two.

I have given up sending Christmas Cards to the long list of people that I know/knew through the years and that is a shame , kind of?   I do more ONLINE passing of the MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.  No paper, no stamp, quick timing........ I sent out a handful to my out of town friends this year... without the Christmas Letter that I used to be famous for highlighting the achievements and GOOD THINGS that happened through the year.  Trying to focus on the positive was always the intent but what it achieved was misrepresenting what really was going on.  We sounded like the Brady Bunch family and trust me ,  we were far from that......

I was able to spread some Christmas Joy to TWO of my friends that were having trouble grabbing the spirit of the season this year..... and I teared up as I found a special card with a candle on my front porch from a dear friend that caught me at a low point in my own journey.   THAT IS IT that is the Christmas that I want to experience during this 2nd half of my life.  The heart to heart spirit .. that contagious RAOK that pays forward hopefully throughout  the year.   Not the "LOOK WHAT I GOT for Christmas that I see posted , when people compare their loot to the loot of others"

I hope that I never totally GIVE UP on Christmas.   I never will stop believing in SANTA CLAUS because the rule is .... "when you stop believing"  Santa Stops Coming.   This year  ..... my wish list was meager compared to years past.  My stocking was hung .... with care.... I gave and tried to spread the Christmas Cheer.  I tried to make wishes come true.  I did not travel.  I scaled WAY down.  It was a good  Christmas and I am thinking about it a lot as I pay those Visa and Mastercard bills.   I am trying to rethink what I have done this year and plan that this year be THE YEAR.... the year that I unwrap the JOY ...... and spend the season with those that don't come to see me to get money from the money tree, or to get a present but rather the friendship...... thats what I found was UNWRAPPED for me this year.

I intend on "downsizing" my friends this year too.  I have plenty of acquaintances .. but FEW true blue friends.  Those that DO LIFE with me , those that CHOOSE to spend time with me , no strings attached, no money tree to pick from..... those that are there when I need and know that I am here for them.... those will be the gifts I choose to get myself this year......

Mel,  I admire your stance, your conviction, and your follow through......and I plan to learn from you.... but choosing to continue with the decorations and gifts , and not that I need a "special day" to tell people I love them or give them a gift... but I will choose to continue my traditions and make more while DOWNSIZING the amounts.....

The pretty bows, bags, wrapping paper, christmas carols and lights are all part of who I am.   I love the magic, the wonder, the surprises and those carefully chosen gifts ... the ones that brings a lump to my throat..... the ones that say "I love you"  that is what I want to give and to have UNWRAPPED


Anonymous said...

I know the way I do it isn't for everyone, and I certainly don't judge those who celebrate. And Christmas IS joyous for you and you SHOULD celebrate it.

For me opting out of the stress was more important. We still gather on Christmas, like we do on Thanksgiving and eat together...enjoy each other's company without the strings that have long been associated with the holiday.

I'm glad I gave you food for thought. This year Christmas will be richer for you, because, because of that thought everything will be more intentional. :)

Anonymous said...

testing one two three

Unknown said...

Christmas is my favorite time of year. My son as born 12.25.83 so that`s one reason. In addition to all the things Anjie said about helping people, it truly is a magic time where anything is possible. The lights, decorations, smiles make me happy. It is NOT about presents or spending money. Many families allow only hand made gifts. I pray that the Christmas Spirit fill`s every person`s heart with joy!

Brandee Shafer said...

Thank you for blessing our Christmas and our everyday lives. I love Christmas but love halloween more, even if that does make me a bad Christian.