It’s that time of year again.
That time of year when my brain is so busy trying to get everything done that thinking about writing slides to the backburner and I find myself without topics because all I can think about is creating a schedule for the baking and the pre-Christmas food prep.
Yes, I actually create a schedule for that. It’s the only way that I can make sure that I have on hand exactly what I need to do my baking and food prep, and the only way I can make sure to get everything done that needs to be done before the big day.
Sometimes I’m so organized that I disgust myself.
Having said that…
As we sneak up on Christmas, I just have a few random thoughts:
- If it doesn’t get done by Christmas, don’t sweat it. You can buy cookies and candy, you can buy pies and cakes, you can even cater the dinner and as long as it all tastes good, no one will mind. It won’t matter if your house isn’t clean because it’ll get all messed up from your family opening gifts and walking around the house drinking hot chocolate. You can buy gift cards because people understand that gift cards are actually quite nice. Trust me: if it doesn’t get done by Christmas, just reschedule it for 3 or 4 days later and say you planned this for your New Year’s Day celebrations. It’s all good.
- If they don’t like your gift, oh well. You aren’t a mind reader and really…except for little kids, the thought is always what matters. Seriously.
- If you just bought any old thing and gave it to your loved one because you didn’t know what to buy, YOU DID A BAD THING. The thought is what matters. SERIOUSLY!
- If you can’t afford anything, give your time. Take a little note card and write down something they would enjoy doing with you, for instance, going out for coffee or spending an evening watching The Walking Dead. Then give it to them and say that this is their gift. If they love you, your time and attention are worth more to them than anything you can buy them. If your loved ones value what you can give them more than they value your time and attention, you really need to re-evaluate the people you love and why you love them.
- If you are unhappy during this season for any reason, don’t judge yourself for that. Nonetheless, try to gather a little joy to yourself in any way you can. Bake cookies for someone who needs them. Bake cookies and take them to the businesses that help you during the rest of the year to tell them how much you appreciate them. Help someone else prepare for Christmas. Take a slow stroll and look at the Christmas lights. Steadfastly refuse to listen to Christmas music. Skip Christmas and focus on New Year’s Day. Decorate your house for Valentine’s Day instead. Do whatever makes you feel like you can breathe a little more deeply and smile, even if it is just the smallest smile.
- When someone or something really ticks you off, don’t waste your time focusing on it. Take a deep breath and ask yourself if this person or situation is really worth your misery and loss of joy. I have a friend who keeps focusing on everything that isn’t working for him right now. It’s all he talks about, and he doesn’t seem to be able to think about anything else. You can bet he’s really miserable, most of the time. Believe me, he has some good reasons to be unhappy, but then again, I have another friend who is currently dealing with stage 4 cancer while she tries to raise her children and she seems to be able to laugh an awful lot. Apparently, your misery level is determined by what you choose to focus on. Focus on the good stuff, and pray about the bad stuff…and let God do the rest.
- Indulge your senses in all that is good in this season. Smell the Christmas pines, and if you can’t have a real tree (don’t you love that asthma?) then light a pine tree scented candle. Bake some sugar cookies, or a baked potato…and the whole house will smell like mom is home. Sit in the dark and look at the lights on the Christmas tree. Sing Christmas carols while you take a walk around the neighborhood, and maybe stop to carol a few neighbors, or even some strangers if you’re bold.
- Finally, remember that the reason for the season is love. Love so great that it came to earth, embodied as a baby. Even if you aren’t a Christian, you can understand how the Ultimate Reality, the things that unites us all as brothers and sisters, can be expressed in the joy of a baby and the love that child brings. Christmas is all about love, so spread the love wherever you can.
May this coming week be a joyous countdown to friends, family, and a great feast of laughter and love!
Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays! Happy Kwanza! Happy Chanukah! Blessed New Year!