Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Christmas Stress - Real Meaning of Christmas...

    Christmas, it almost feels like a dirty word.  Christmas means a lot of different and conflicting things to me.  As I have shared in the past, Christmas is a very difficult time of the year for me.  We lost our oldest son Gabe, Christmas Eve 2004.  That year I was looking for my Christmas miracle, the ones that you hear about around this time of year.  My Christmas miracle never came.  I play that bipolar Christmas game every year.  I hear Christmas music and I want to weep with my unforgivable loss.  I yearn for what I can never again have.  At the same time Christmas used to be my favourite holiday.  I used to really do it up big, go over the top.  I have beautiful memories of Gabe at Christmas.  I want my "living" children to have beautiful memories about their Christmas.  I don't want them to look back with bitterness and think about how depressing their childhood Christmas's were.
    Even when you take away the big pink elephant from the discussion (Gabe), Christmas is generally a very stressful time of year.  Don't believe me, try heading to Walmart soon.  People act like animals, it's so cut throat.  Isn't this a time of kindness and goodness, peace and good will toward our fellow man?  I think that someone forgot to tell most of those folks.  There is this blinding terror that something will be forgotten, something really important, something that someone else might get to before you do.  Not only do the majority of us stress about finding that perfect gift, creating that perfect Christmas celebration, complete with perfect meal, we have to pay for it all.  Christmas is not an inexpensive holiday, at least it is not for us!
    What is the real meaning of Christmas?  For me it's not that religious thing.  If truth be told I find all of the "Jesus is the Reason for the Season" signs and postings to be infuriating (I feel like this is the best time to apologize to my religious friends / readers.  I do not mean to criticize your beliefs, I just hate seeing that slogan).  Most of the religions celebrate some type of holiday in December.  In pre-Christianity the people celebrated the changing of the seasons.  It has always been a time of celebration.  It has always been a time to come together.  I want it to be a time of magic for my family.  I want it to be beautiful and full of love.  I want it to be a tradition that my children look back on fondly.
    This year for Christmas I want to refocus on what Christmas means to Christopher and I.  I don't want it to be about feeling stressed and miserable.  I promise myself that I will not over do it, like I usually do.  Usually I over buy, over spend, and it's all over in seconds with only the bills to show for it.  I stress out about everything and am a bear to live with in the weeks leading up to Christmas because of the unrealistic expectations that I put on myself.  I will make it about giving thanks for what we are blessed to have.  Right now I know of a local family who will be spending a first Christmas without a father/ husband.  I know of a family who are dealing with a child who has a brain tumor, this is their first Christmas since the diagnosis.  I know of a high school friend who is committing to the battle of his life with colon cancer.  I think about the hardships that many I know are having to endure and I feel blessed.  It feels ungrateful for the bounty I have to be stressing about making everything perfect, finding the perfect gifts.  The greatest gift my family has and will ever have is each other.  I know how precious this gift is.  I know that life is fragile and can topple down around you at any moment like the card house that it really is.  All that we really have is the moment that we are in, and we should be making the most of those moments!  I plan to make the most of my moments this holiday season.

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