Saturday, 1 December 2012

Christmas Cheer or Christmas Fear?

Christmas is meant to be a magical time. One that is filled with love and laughter, and feelings of peace and hope. But this is not always the case. There are times when the lead up to Christmas can be filled with trepidation, and the day itself is one dominated by stress and anxiety. In these instances, Christmas is often a logistical nightmare from shopping for those perfect gifts to trying to be in two, three or even four places in one day to supposedly spend quality time with family and friends. Not to mention the times when we secretly do not even want to be at these events because they are fraught with drama and tension. For some reason, there are people who chose to rehash every family squabble and expose even more skeletons in the closet during these 'happy' occasions. A few nuts in the family chocolate box and a healthy dose of alcohol is a potent mix. Even I, a staunch supporter of all things Christmas, have to admit that my most peaceful Christmas days have been when MOH (My Other Half) and I were away, and we spent it by ourselves.

Have we well and truly lost the magic of Christmas? When did it simply become an exercise in aligning everyone's schedules, battling for parking in the shopping centre and inwardly groaning as we fulfil our obligations? If you are currently heaving a great big sighs over this Christmas 'burden', spare a thought for those who regard this holiday as the loneliest time of the year because they do not have family and friends to spend it with, for those who do not have anything to eat let alone have any money to buy gifts, and for those who see it as just another day in their struggle to simply survive.

How can we have forgotten that Christmas is about spending time with those you love the most? That it is not about the price tag of the gift, but it is really about the thought that counts? That it is a time that we have free rein to eat, drink and be merry? That it is a time to remind ourselves of how truly blessed we are?

Our last two Christmases away enabled MOH and I to put things into perspective, and rediscover the joy that this time can bring. And guess what? The world didn't fall apart because we were not present at the various gatherings and we handed our gifts out late.

This year we are determined to enjoy our Christmas. This means letting go of that pesky guilt and sense of duty, and choosing how we want to spend this time and who we spend it with. This way we hope to share a happy festive season with our family and friends, and have fun (even with those odd nuts).

May you find the magic of Christmas this year. Season's Greetings!

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