It’s officially the holiday season. More often than not, I find myself rolling my eyes at the masses of people stressing out over all of the things that have turned this season into everything it’s not supposed to be. I have a very untraditional outlook on Christmas and the reaction I get when I tell people is usually shock. But, after given the opportunity to explain myself, they usually end up coming around. But, that’s not even the point. I celebrate the holidays like **I** want to and even though it sounds selfish, I promise you it’s the most selfless thing you’ll do all year.
In a nutshell, I think you should “age out” of Christmas at 12. I know, I know….What?! I told you…shocking at first. But, hear me out.
I think that once you pass the age of 12, the allure and mystery of Christmas is lost. At that point, you just become a part of the commercialism of Christmas and are all but immune to the spirit, meaning, and purpose of the holidays. You just make a list of things you want and work your way through a list of gifts for others that you hardly put any thought into. You sit around for hours on Christmas morning and open gifts from people you barely know anymore and fake your way through surprise and gratefulness. If you are truly honest with yourself…you know what I’m talking about.
Sure, there are those gifts…the thoughtful, special gifts from the people you truly love and those that truly love you, but those are rare these days. And, who’s to say you shouldn’t get those kinds of gifts year-round? Why does that pomp and circumstance have to be reserved for Christmas? Who made that rule? Seriously? Why is there a “season” for giving gifts…or spending time with family…or any of the other excuses we give ourselves for the participating in the madness.
I do **believe** in Christmas. I do adore the feeling in the air this time of year. I do cherish the idea of the Christmas spirit and the story of Christ and the true meaning of Christmas. I do honestly love all of that.
So, I don’t propose that we ignore the holiday’s all together. Get a tree, decorate your home, invite over friends and family, share stories around the fire, make outrageously large dinners, keep traditions…do all of that. But, stop forcing yourself to fulfill an expectation that has gotten out of control.
Instead, think of those less fortunate than us. I mean, that is the meaning of Christmas after all, right? Mary, Jesus, the Inn, the three wise men with their gifts…
For the past three years, I’ve adopted a family through an organization called Families Helping Families. When I stopped shopping for people that I know (that can buy their own damn iPads) and starting shopping for complete strangers, my entire outlook on the holiday’s changed. I’ve never met the families I’ve adopted, but I think of them as if I did. I become their family, albeit only in my head…and heart, and each thing I buy for them comes from a real place of love and hope.
They ask for things like jackets, Pediasure, groceries, and toothpaste. I think that says enough about the kind of people they are and how much they need the graciousness and acceptance of others each year.
Consider this. Imagine if at 12 years old, your family started adopting a family that was just like yours. Mom, Dad, 12-year old girl, 8-year-old boy; or single mom with two teenage girls; or whatever your real family looks like. [FYI: You can be that specific when requesting a family to adopt…there are hundreds of them who qualify for the program each year. Assign the adopted family members to your real family members who’re most like them. 12-year-old with 12-year-old, mom with mom, etc.] Imagine all that you’d be able to learn at a young and impressionable age about Christmas, and selflessness, and giving, and everything that Christmas is supposed to be about. Imagine the kind of children we’d be raising if the holiday’s stopped being about what **you** were going to get and rather what you were able to do for others!
I am to fill my “kids” heart with joy and to inspire my “parents” to be more than they are. All my kids get coats, clothes, shoes, books and a handmade gift. (This year, it’s a quilt.) All of my parents get a gift card to a grocery store, one thing off their list (this year, my mom didn’t ask for a single thing. She’s inspired me with her selflessness.), and a journal. I’ve written the first entry for them to help inspire them, if only in their writing, to dream of more and make the best of the coming year.
I hope you can see the true goodness in how I participate in Christmas. I hope you can see the honesty, purity, and kindness behind my unconventional take on the holidays. And, if you can look outside of yourself this season, I hope you can find it in your heart to take the holidays back and do what you believe is the true holiday spirit.
I made this graphic to help inspire you…to help remind us all of the real meaning of Christmas.
Let’s conspire this year to ignore the status quo and stand up for the holiday spirit we know it’s meant to be.