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By society’s standards, I’m a bit of a humbug. I struggle with all the hoopla that comes with any holiday, especially Christmas. There are pieces of it that I enjoy, like time spent with family, but for the most part, the paradigm society has created surrounding this time of the year can move me to moral indecisiveness and ambiguity. If people were honest, for many and maybe most, traditions look lovely on cards and TV commercials, but are exhausting to fulfill. The peace and joy they see embedded in store signs and flashy displays are stressful to afford, and “good will towards men” actually means meeting other’s expectations and making everyone else happy to the detriment of their own health.
I lived this for many years and, if I speak my truth, I grew to dread the festive season. It seemed right and good in the beginning as I fed into what everyone else was doing but, over time, making homemade cranberry sauce and stringing popcorn became a lot of work on top of an already fast and full existence. After years of shopping for everyone on my list, wrapping their treasures in hand stamped paper, and spending endless hours by the oven, the holidays just became an exhausting great big thing to get done. The message in the back of my head was that “if you love them, you will create a winter wonderland fantasy for them”.
Logically, I knew that no was holding this over my head but, my inner critic fed into the idea that I had to find and buy everything on the provided wish lists, create the best gingerbread house possible, and get up at 5 a.m. to make a festive breakfast while everyone else got their much needed rest. I became tired and felt taken for granted of; so much so that I grew to resent the patterns I had created and enabled. For many years, I just wanted to get Christmas over with, and I knew that something had to give; I decided it wouldn’t be my moral code. I broke the pattern of Falalalalalalalala, and, together with my immediate family, we had what I thought would be a difficult conversation. It turned out to be one of relief as we let go of the stress of society’s traditional Christmas and created our own based on our beliefs and what we truly value.
Here are 10 traditions we traded in for the new ones we decided to create and keep:
1. We gave up running around to everyone else’s house on Christmas day; we keep this day for ourselves, with ease;
2. We gave up buying everything on the wish list; we each receive 1 gift which is an experience and a stocking, with gratitude;
3. We gave up thinking only of ourselves during this time of year; we provide an offering to a charity of our choice, with love;
4. We gave up expected religious beliefs; we move from our belief of Love and Kindness, with personal integrity;
5. We gave up the traditional turkey dinner; we create a different meal together every year, with collaboration;
6. We gave up expected hosting dates; we invite guests spontaneously and when we have space outside of our family time, with honour;
7. We gave up ‘expected’ dates of setting up the tree and decorations; we get it done when the time is right for us, with freedom of time;
8. We gave up social engagements that we don’t enjoy; we reserve time with close friends and relatives, with self-respect;
9. We gave up fulfilling expected time commitments; we leave when we are ready, with self-care;
10. And finally, in general, we gave up agreeing to the pressure of others’ expectations on us; we do what we feel is right for us and respect what others feel is right for them, with Authenticity.
Once our family opened our hearts to sharing how we feel and what we really want, rather than what we thought was expected of us, we experienced a true sense of tradition as it fell inline with who we are and how we felt comfortable expressing our love for each another. And so, in keeping with this theme, we wish you all the courage to let go of traditions that don’t serve you well, and create the ones that do by slowing down and writing your own Christmas story; whatever that looks like to you. xoxo
#tradition #Christmas #love #gratitude #LeadAuthentic #DareToSpeak #DaringlyMindful