Create your own traditions.
Who wants turkey for Christmas? I ask.
Huh, I kinda like a turkey with stove top stuffing.
Since we do it at Thanksgiving, we can try something different at Christmas. Everyone prefers beef. We are Alberta-born and raised, so a thick cut of red meat satisfies the taste buds: a prime rib all fancy with those fancy, frilly tips.
Just like the turkey tradition, it took me years to accept that I don’t much enjoy loading batteries and building toys, peeling potatoes and chopping veggies on Christmas day. I want to sit back, relax and listen, watch, and soak up the atmosphere.
So I serve Christmas dinner on Christmas eve. Christmas is for leftovers, the well-cured, flavour-dense leftovers of a roast beef Sunday dinner, roast tomatoes, sautéed Brussel sprouts and pomegranate goat cheese salad, garlic mashed potatoes, and Yorkshire puddings. This day there’s time to make a chocolate yule log and add a decanted bottle of Chilean Malbec.
After the evening’s repast, there’s peaceful slumber. We have no choice but enjoy a deep winter’s sleep, all snuggled in bed, with sugar plum fairies dancing in our head, because the carb overload has put us into hypoglycemic heaven.
Ignore the cultural materialism messages.
I continue to hear messages, spoken or not, that I am not doing enough. I hear…
1. Your kids won’t feel loved unless you spend more than you can afford.
2. Unless your freezer’s full of dozens of goodies, your guests won’t know they’re important–cause we all know we don’t get enough treats at Christmas.
3. If you haven’t decorated your Christmas tree Martha-style, no paper angels, broken decorations & only the front half accessorized, your tree doesn’t cut it!
4. You haven’t left a fifty dollar bill for every service person you know: your mailman, hairstylist and piano teacher? You must be Scrooge.
Watching a Christmas special with my husband, I told him, “That’s what I got you for Christmas”…pointing to the Hyundai. (Or at least that is what I’m told I should have got him). What I actually bought him was something that he needed, something that he even asked for (perish the thought). Anyways, we love our Subaru.
Let Christmas giving teach us what is true.
Life doesn’t always work like Christmas morning, unwrapping gift after gift, declaration of others’ showing us unconditional love. Very challenging scenarios might play out under the tree of our lives.
We can still be simply thankful for the things we do have, for those that we do have, for the Someone that really does love us, that Someone’s looking out for us, and cares to bring the dreams of our hearts to fruition.
We can learn to give the very best gifts of kindness, tenderheartedness, even forgiveness. Then the magic of connection and Christmas can continue every day.