Are you feeling Christmassy yet?

The silly season bug has bitten and I am in my element. Partly because it’s one more sleep before THE DAY, but mostly because I’m on holiday with my kids after a strenuous school year. The one time of year when I’m mother to only three kids and not some 900+ other people’s children who either love me or love to hate me.

My holiday started on a bit of a low note where I was almost booked off work for the last week and a half. No broken bones or serious health conditions though. I suffered a major burn out for the first time in my working career and just about lost my sh*t. Not a good place to be. Thankfully, the logical part of my brain, that hasn’t been taken over by anxiety syndrome just yet, made me relent and I am now officially on happy pills. Not happy-go-lucky-laugh-at-stupid-jokes happy. Just a sense of calm that I have no idea what to do with. This too makes me anxious. I thrive on a rush and being an anxiety sufferer for the best part of my adult life, I have no idea what to do with myself. Will I ever win? This will take getting used to. And in case you’re wondering (and even if you didn’t) I generally laugh at stupid jokes and at myself a lot. In fact, I am happy go lucky by nature it’s just this stupid chemical imbalance gives me a run for my money at times.

Mental health aside, I am enjoying being with my husband and kids so much that I often find myself just looking at them and wondering how on earth I got so lucky. They really are a blessing and make me feel some sense of accomplishment as they are walking, taking validations that remind me that my life is whole. I may falter and drop the ball plenty of times but failure and quitting is never an option. Life is unscripted and there is no right or wrong way to live. So I count my blessings daily learn from my mistakes. Onward and upward is our motto.

For many people this time of year is not a joyous time. We think of loved ones lost, social (or any kind of) anxiety, depression, financial constraints, illnesses and those who are just alone in this world. Tragedy may have made some loathe this time of year or reckless abandon have left a bad taste in our mouths. Our own or someone else’s. And although there are many things to be thankful and grateful for ’tis not the season everyone is as happy as expected. But why the expectation?

Can’t we leave well enough alone?

Can we just leave people be already. Can we just give ourselves a break too while we’re at it? So much pressure is placed on people. Others expectations and those we have of ourselves. Some people still feel the need to get new outfits and higher heels and not everyone is fortunate enough to be able to buy it. It’s supposed to be the season of giving but many people get the concept so wrong. Giving is not just about material things. It’s about keeping someone’s place in line in a full store. It’s that much needed hug of reassurance. It’s running errands for a person who is unable to. Giving of ourselves and our time is often the most valuable gifts we can offer. Money sure does help adding a bit of sparkle but it is not the be all and end all.

I could tell go into detail about the reason for the season. Because there are plenty of reasons to celebrate. The most important one being the birth of Christ. Whether you believe in God or not, Christmas without the tinsel is all about the baby in a manger. But I’m not about to preach or force feed my beliefs down your throat. There are some other issues I want to discuss with you.

There is no right way to celebrate this season. Many people have their different ways of celebrating. Even though it will never truly fizzle out, the whole traditional Christmas lunch is becoming a thing of the past. I know of many people who have a braai or eat whatever normal meal they would have had or any given day. One of my neighbours has decided to have a fish braai this year and it sounds yummy.

A couple of years ago my family and I decided to spend our day on the beach. We didn’t want the hassle of deciding whose family to spend the day with so we packed a picnic basket and frolicked in the water the whole day. In all honesty, that is my best Christmas memory I have with my husband and kids. No fuss and no frills. Pretty much the kind of lifestyle we lead. I don’t have any pictures of that day but every single moment is permanently etched in my memory. As well as the sand we had to wash out of everything that day. If memory serves, it took a few washes to completely get the sand out of our hair.

Tips for the festive season:

  1. Let your hair down and just be. Live in the moment.
  2. Whatever you do, do not spell desserts backwards. The season is not about perfection. And getting worked up and stressed for one day is just not worth it.
  3. While it’s probably too late to tell you not to spend your money frivolously (and not like I have any right to either) but don’t let the silliness of the season wipe out all sensibilities.
  4. If you’re going to be on the road at all, think for the other drivers and not just yourself. People are driving around like total chops. Don’t be a chop.
  5. The festive season is about love and family. Whether it’s blood relations or family of the heart, enjoy your time together and make memories.
  6. Be considerate. Of everyone! Especially of your neighbours. It’s easy to lose yourself in the moment and forget that it may not be pleasing to everyone else.
  7. Laugh often. Laugh loud.
  8. Drink responsibly and whatever you do, DO NOT DRINK AND DRIVE.
  9. Don’t allow anyone to steal your joy and don’t be someone else’s joy stealer.
  10. Be kind. Today. Tomorrow. Always.

For years I loved going to a mall on Christmas eve and people watch. It’s become sort of my own tradition. People watching is generally my thing but it’s so much better on Christmas eve. This year I will be staying home doing nothing but watching movies instead. I may read a book in between or bake a few cookies for the heck of it. Whatever I will be doing will include my family and it will be perfect.

Have a joyous Festive Season and be safe!

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