Thursday, 11 November 2010

Christmas is Coming...

Spring is here!  Well it is back home where I was born!  All those years I took for granted my birthday falling in such a lovely time of year. For the past few years I find myself trying to make the most of this dark, damp, cold offering, that is November in the north.  It is also the prelude to that joyous time of year called Christmas.  Admittedly, in the beginning I loved the novelty of a Christmas with mistletoe, gluhwein, snow and a real Christmas tree. Reality has shattered this innocence and now I find myself dreading this consumer filled time filled with expectations, demands and kitschy idealisation of what Christmas means. It all kind of leaves me cold. (Pun intended!)

My perfect Christmas would be to not have one at all.  Let's make birthdays more important, says my 12 year old self! OK, for those who are religious, Christmas is meant to be a celebration of Christ's birthday, but for those of us who don't get into that, what are we doing!? It's a mirage created by marketers to get us to spend more money and to make believe our families are the people we most want to spend a few days with. Christmas has the highest number of suicides in the year. There are more lonely people who feel even lonelier because of the huge expectations and demands created around this time of year.

But there is a way out of my cynicism.  Celebrating life everyday as if everyday mattered. Giving to and loving each other as if everyday matters, not just this one time in the year when we place pressure on ourselves to perform. If we haven't loved someone throughout the year, why should it become something we 'must' do once a year? Every day should be a celebration. I love that idea of performing random acts of kindness (does anyone know who originally said that?). Life happens today. Love happens today.

I've disappointed family expectations only a couple of times in my entire life.  OK, probably more, but I'm referring to specifics here. One year I planned a bike trip with a friend that turned into quite an adventure, particularly in the heart of an Aussie summer Christmas. Another year I found myself cooking Christmas dinner in a home for people who struggle with life. The afternoon was spent in a rose garden. Somehow the whole day was very peaceful. My ideal? Honesty, openness and peace, and a nice little escape would be welcome. 

How do you experience Christmas and what would be your great alternative?
PS. The picture is courtesy of Zoe from