We hear you! Sometimes celebrating Christmas doesn’t feel right.
Maybe you are experiencing something truly heartbreaking. Maybe you feel exhausted in every way. Maybe the state of the world feels too heavy. Or perhaps you have never experienced the Christmas Spirit. Maybe it's a holiday that has always been a tad empty; not meaningful.
If that’s you, our hearts are with you. It's ok to take the festive season slowly if you're not feeling it. Some years are more complicated than others. Sometimes Christmas hurts.
If you’d like this year's Christmas to be different, firstly, know that the Christmas Spirit isn’t outside of you. It is cultivated inside your heart. It is something you decide to participate in. It is not based on emotion but on your own thoughts and actions. When we say Christmas Spirit we mean togetherness, generosity, gratitude, kindness, and childlike wonder.
Togetherness isn’t just about being in the same room as someone else. Togetherness means warm fellowship and an openness to connection. This is hard if the people you celebrate Christmas with are not trusted. In that case, it’s clear that mending the relationship should be a priority.
However, if you feel like that is absolutely impossible, simply try to lay down all expectations of what they will give to you and concentrate on being loving towards them no matter how misunderstood you feel. Focus on forgiveness and releasing grudges.
Generosity is about giving based on what you’ve got, not on what the receiver needs. It's amazing how a generous, well-meaning gesture can usher in the Christmas Spirit.
The way to prevent being showy or appearing proud is to give something heartfelt. Avoid overly expensive gifts if you are unsure of how they will make the receiver feel.
The way to prevent being showy or appearing proud is to give something heartfelt, avoid overly expensive gifts if you are unsure of how they will make the receiver feel and be mindful of the time and place in which you give your gift.
Another way to generate the Christmas Spirit is to be aware of what you have; some might say to ‘count your blessings’. Gratitude is imperative to experience the wonder of the season. If you feel tempted to focus on everything Christmas isn’t because of a lack of money or circumstances out of your control, we say, be intentional to name all that is good, what you do have and what Christmas could be this year despite what you hope.
Christmas is often a time when we see family that we haven't seen all year. It is a great opportunity to be kind, listen and offer compassion. Considering others, helping out, investing your time and being encouraging can help to make Christmas a truly magical experience. Asking the kids, your partner or those in your immediate family to participate in the Christmas Spirit by doing something kind for someone else is not only permissible but beneficial to all.
Lastly, you can cultivate a little awe and enthusiasm by including a little childlike wonder. This means being present, indulging your imagination, sharing stories and inciting a sense of playfulness in the day. Advent calendars, Christmas movies, cooking and crafts, hanging Christmas lights, Christmas songs, carolling, games and dressing up in unique Christmas outfits can add to the fun.
Photo by Samuel Holt