I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with Christmas. Christmas to me is a celebration, a celebration of life and new beginnings. Celebration of Jesus’ birth, sharing his love for us to one another and let’s not forget peace on earth. I love giving gifts, especially to see a child’s face light up upon receiving a gift they’ve been waiting for. I love hanging around the house with my family watching Christmas movies, new ones and oldies. This is why it’s hard for me to admit that at times I can hardly wait until Christmas is over. I hate consumerism, hate shopping malls, hate waiting in lineups to see fake Santa (thankfully I don’t do this anymore), hate when people run me over with buggies while I’m shopping and don’t even bother to apologize. I have this peaceful, lovely Christmas in my head and then I get out of my house into reality and everything annoys me. I try not to spend too much time in the shopping malls, I write everything I need and fast speed through the stores and get everything in one day.
Christmas can be stressful on relationships as well, especially relationships amongst family members where things are strained to begin with, then add Christmas and the expectations of Christmas – one big headache. We have experienced this situation in our family. Family members that we don’t really see all year and when we do see them the situation is definitely strained. I’m not sure what went wrong but it’s one of those situations where it’s pretty obvious that things have taken a downer; nothing has really happened, no fight, no exchange of words but the whole relationship is one of forcefulness when we get together. I have many theories and if I could say it in one word it would be – alienation! Now let’s throw Christmas at this relationship and we’re getting together to exchange gifts and being, I’ll say it, very phony. Pretty much Christmas day was the only day we saw these family members and every year the visit got shorter and shorter. I drew the line to the big happy party the year that the guests’ coats didn’t even come off during our annual visit and someone kept looking at their watch and declaring “we have to go,” took their gifts and went. The visit lasted all of twenty minutes. After they left my husband and I got into a fight because quite frankly we were both upset, I was upset about the insulting behavior and he didn’t know what to say. I had plenty to say and wanted to hear him say the same thing, which led to a fight -tis the season to be jolly, fa la, la,la,la,la,la,la… The next year I told my husband that I simply could not do the whole happy family scene anymore and that we had to put a stop to the madness. He was a little stressed and said “how am I supposed to handle this one?” Neither one of us want the door closed to these family members and I suggested that he tell them that they are more than welcome to come by for the annual Christmas visit, but it seemed silly to exchange gifts as we don’t see each other all year. This is what he did and last year our annual Christmas visit didn’t happen. Even though this is a frustrating situation we are thankful and blessed to have friends and family that we spend time with throughout the year and when we visit at Christmas, it’s more than a 20 minute visit. I really think everyone has to work at getting rid of tensions from their lives, not only at Christmas, but throughout the year. I know I’m not the only one who has a crazy Christmas family story – I think most people have similar stories. The fact is life is too short and if someone doesn’t appreciate you or doesn’t like you for whatever reason, you’ve tried to rectify the relationship and it’s not working, get out of the situation, move on, even if it’s Christmas, don’t settle for less just because it’s Christmas. You never have to accept rudeness in any relationship. Christmas is a time for happiness, celebration, peace and tranquility. Keep it that way and spend the time with people who truly enrich your life and while you’re at it – keep away from those crazy malls.
I’ll leave you with a few pics around the house decorated for Christmas. I like very simple decorations at Christmas, my husband likes lots of decorations so we compromise – he decorates at Halloween and I take Christmas – it works – he can go overboard at Halloween with all his ghosts and goblins and I can go subtle at Christmas with my angels, nativity and Santa. Enjoy the coming days, may there be peace and tranquility in your house and hearts this Christmas.