Do you remember Christmas Eve a few years ago when you were stuck in a huge line at Barnes & Noble, cursing the 37 people in line in front of you because you had so much to do and no time to stand in line patiently? Do you recall the terrible things you thought about these people and how they were literally ruining your Christmas?
Or how about two years ago when you didn’t have time to attend the 10pm Christmas Eve service because you still had presents to wrap and cookies to bake, obviously?
Or the year you started shopping at 5pm on Christmas Eve…. Wait. I will admit. These overworked, rushed and manic Holiday memories are mine, and I hope you cannot relate. I hope you are one of the few who actually revels in the miracles of the season (1 day of oil that lasts 8 days, baby born of virgin, nights get longer, day are shorter) without being tempted by the rush of activity and consumerism.
Maybe your family is really one of the few that has created traditions that include peaceful, mindful Holiday activities.
If you are one of these people, please share your secrets. This year I am doing things differently and anxious to learn how to slow down, breathe in, relax, enjoy and marvel at miracles.
And so, I am creating another list. A list of Holiday to-dos and don’ts. Please add your suggestions, traditions and great ideas. It is only December 2nd so we really do have time this year to get things right, and enjoy this Holy Season.
1. stress over gifts / baking / decorating
2. wait until the last minute to shop, create, make or buy
3. Spend money on useless gifts the recipient can neither enjoy or use
4. do anything that causes stress or anxiety
1. Take long walks at night to enjoy the cold air and Christmas lights
2. Spend the first few minutes of the New Year in silent reflection, giving thanks for the past year and year ahead.
3. Tell people how special they are to you, using words…. not dollars
4. Be thoughtful about purchases
5. consider charitable donation in honor of someone you love, over another money clip or picture frame they cannot use
6. Watch It’s a Wonderful Life
7. Buy gifts for someone in need through a local Angel tree program
8. Give anonymous gifts of thanks to people who mean the most
9. Don’t forget those folks that make your lives better: City utility and sanitary workers; US postal service; paper delivery; etc.
10. Pick a different person for each day in December to pray for and/or encourage
11. Start an annual Holiday outdoor excursion to do one of the following: cut your own tree; hike; bird watch; find mistletoe; chop firewood
12. Bake cookies for Santa
13. Dance like snoopy
14. Sip coffee, tea, cider or anything warm and delicious while listening to carols
15. Go caroling!
Ok. Enough silly ideas. Here is the point. Holidays are not about blue light specials and 2 for 1 sales on socks. They are about giving something more. Yourself. Your love. Your listening ear and helping hand. They are about miracles and celebrations and life. So try to spend your time reflecting these values and I think we will find how meaningful this Season can be. Or, just curl up with your favorite someone in a chair and rest.. I think that is a fine way to celebrate miracles as well!