Well the big day is almost here. Santa Claus arrives at our house tonight and we are ready and waiting. We’ll be decorating cookies for him later tonight. We’ll be putting out our reindeer food and leaving milk and cookies (if the kid doesn’t eat them all). Tomorrow morning we’ll wake up, open our gifts and go to church, before spending time with family. What traditions do you have with your family on Christmas Eve? I’d love it if you shared with us.
As I sit here and type, I have my frappe in hand, in early December. The house is quiet as it is O’Dark Hundred as I like to call it. The important people in my life are tucked in their beds and of course this mama has started the day. We have a busy one today with a trip to a farm for Christmas Wonderland adventure. A sleigh ride, some crafts and a visit with the big man dressed in red. We went to ‘officially’ visit the big guy this past week and it was a disaster. The tears, the screaming, yes that was my child at the mall. Thanks to everyone behind me (yes we were first in line) who was patient with us. My child’s behaviour, which was totally normal for a 19 month old, got me thinking. Is this Christmas really the most wonderful time of the year?? When I think back to growing up of course it was because it meant that we would have a vacation from school, but as an adult, what does it mean? Have we lost ourselves in the hustle and bustle of the season?
I had two hours alone on Friday to finish up a couple of gifts that I needed to get. Yes I’m normally done by US Thanksgiving but they were gift cards and I couldn’t buy them online. So I run into one store and there are literally 23 people ahead of me, in line on a Friday afternoon. As I had so much time to wait and observe, I was able to see humanity at its finest. The woman and her sister or friend who were screaming at the poor sales associate who couldn’t be older than 25 for having to wait while the manager looks into their items that they called to place on hold. The woman behind me who obviously was trying to have a business meeting on the phone and hide the fact that the register system was calling out a new cashier available every five minutes. The husband who was hemming and hawing every few minutes of why they had to be in line and the wife who explained the gift was for HIS side of the family. When I finally got to the cashier with my items, yes I picked up a thing or two in the line to the register, I greeted the woman. At 2pm she looked like she had worked 12 hours that day. I jokingly said, “Wow it is pretty busy in here, I guess no one works anymore.” And she replied, “It is the attitudes that get you, I can understand being this miserable after 5pm but not in the middle of the day.” That struck a cord with me. Truly were were more miserable after a long day at work? Were we sick of particular people or our own lives and taking it out on others?
People repeat after me: Christmas is on December 25th. It is on December 25th this year and every other year. There is no reason to run around like mad people. There is no reason to take your frustrations out on others. Yes you had to drive around the parking lot three times to find a spot for your car. Yes you had to wait a little longer in line to pay for your items. But ladies and gentlemen, this is all avoidable. Many years ago I started buying gifts throughout the year. I try to buy items that I think people will still like six months from now. This not only helps your bank account but also helps save your sanity. Don’t want to budget to do that, try picking up one item a month. That way you’re eleven items in when December arrives.
My other tip is Christmas cards. Yes I still send paper Christmas cards. I find it to be the one time of year that I can reach out to people that I may have lost touch with and let them know they are thought of and in my heart. Want to get on my Christmas card list? Send me your address! LOL My address list checking starts in August. I make sure I update addresses and confirm any I’m not sure of. I also cut and add to the list at that time. By November my labels are printed and ready to go. Right now I’m at the mercy of a photographer waiting on my daughter’s photo so they won’t go out as early as I would have liked but the majority of my work is done.
Now I could continue to write about how Christmas isn’t about the gifts and we should be a less materialistic society but there are a million and one blogs about that. My wish for you in the coming weeks is that you are able to find some peace in all of the insanity. That you don’t let other people (shoppers, co-workers, etc.) bring down your wonderful mood and remember that this truly is, the most wonderful time of the year!!