The non-traditionalists will claim it was here a month ago, but no one can deny its arrival by now. December is full-swing, full-on, CHRISTMAS!
I’ve always loved Christmas, despite all the reasons to hate it.
The traffic. The parking. The general rage and short tempers stemming from the pressure of the big day. The stress of completing work projects before everyone goes on holidays. The queues. The crazy-busy shops with tired staff. Working out child-care for the holidays because, regardless of the fact Christmas and the holidays are the same time every year, you haven’t actually gotten around to dealing with them. The buying of presents . Only for them to be on sale two days later. The overwhelming sense of materialism. The wrapping. The misplacing the scissors or tape and then cursing ‘it was just HERE!’ only to find it just THERE, five annoyed minutes later. The cooking. The dishes. The wasted food. The worry your kids are only eating Candy Canes and dinner rolls. The cyclone of unwrapping.
And then… it’s over.
But loving Christmas still wins.
For me, Christmas fills in the gaps of Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and birthdays where people can just say – in whatever form – I love you. I appreciate you. I feel for you. I miss you.
I love seeing the Salvo’s out on our main street collecting donations. I love the wishing trees. Carols in our parks. I love people out at night, with their friends and families, admiring the Christmas lights. I love my mum’s fruit cake. My uncle’s demand for Pavlova. Dad’s burnt sausages. My step-dad instigating the water fight. Seeing the people we only manage to see at Christmas. I love Christmas cards with the yearly newsletter. I love us joking about “That Christmas when…” I love the generosity. I love the kid’s excitement and the shared smiles with my husband. I love the magic.
Christmas makes us reflect on things. Our year, and the years gone by. Our hopes for the new year. How short time is. How fragile life is.
I know it can also be an awful and sensitive time, too. Not everyone can afford the Christmas many of us have become accustomed to. Not everyone has people and groups to flit between. Some aren’t healthy enough. Some have hearts too broken for Christmas frivolity.
But that is where magic and generosity come in. I don’t believe Christmas is all about the kids. I believe it’s about role modelling to everyone that if we can be kind and thoughtful to others, if we can go out of way even just a little bit for someone, we can help build the magic of Christmas and general faith in humanity.
So, let the parent with the screaming kid go in front of you in the queue. Give the wave to someone when they let you in on the road. Let people in on the road! Walk an extra twenty metres to the Salvo’s collection tin and throw some coins in. Smile. Donate to a wishing tree. Take your kids to a carols event and sing loudly. Donate to a food charity. Write messages on your Christmas cards, texts or emails that actually mean something. Ask your parents or aunts and uncles to tell your kids what Christmas was like for them. Attend a church service. If you love someone, tell them. If someone has a great hair day, tell them that too. Say out loud the good things you think in your head. Because no one knows what 2018 will bring.
Giving more at Christmas doesn’t mean spending more money, it doesn’t mean exhausting ourselves to meet an expectation that is unrealistic to our circumstances either.
It means, really, to be kind.