Happy Holidays! Happy Holidays! Let’s celebrate the holidays! As The Holidays approached, my hubby said, “I want our cards to read Merry Christmas, not Seasons Greetings. I want to celebrate Christmas.” Hmm, but what meaning does he attribute to the word and celebration we call Christmas? What is his TRUE meaning of Christmas? T’was the night before an interesting discussion.
Oftentimes, we are told we need to remember the true meaning of Christmas. I do not know about you, but I often feel emotionally ready to duck when that subject rises. I prepare to feel shame, blame or guilt. I ready myself to defend my December celebrations.
Songs and poems are shared to convey the meaning of Christmas. My top three favorites are:
- The Twelve Days of Christmas
- Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
- T’was the Night Before Christmas
But, I do not want the stores blaring Christmasy jingles in my ears before December. My gosh! Isn’t one month of retail mania enough? A curse on Black Friday, the November day after American Thanksgiving weekend, which has crept into Canada. The commercialization of Christmas is a North American stampede . . . and each year it seems to increase in its ferociousness.
Then the media joins in with sales, deals and seasonal projects for the disadvantaged. All vie for their truth of the meaning of Christmas.
The resilient person is able to muster up a sense of internal locus of control and speak from personal values, choices and, most likely, faith. They might be heard saying, “I know the TRUE meaning of Christmas, for me”. Then they put their meaning into action.
Twelve Ways To Celebrate the True Meaning of Christmas
There are many ways to spend December 25. In Canada we pride ourselves in our diversity. Let us allow and celebrate the many ways our citizens can, and will, mark the day. Our activities will depend on our faith, family background, circumstance, country-of-origin or beliefs. The TRUE meaning of Christmas might be acted out in these ways.
1. Celebrate the birth of the Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ’s birth (a tradition for many Christians). Norman Vincent Peale said,
I truly believe that if we keep telling the Christmas story, singing the Christmas songs, and living the Christmas spirit, we can bring joy and happiness and peace into this world. Norman Vincent Peale.
2. Honor the celebration of Hanukkah (a tradition for most Jews).
3. Worship and praise God like every other day (a tradition for most Muslims).
4. Do ancient Winter Solstice rituals to honor the seasonal cycles of darkness and light or honouring traditions aligned with Aboriginals, Shamans, Wiccans and other earth revering groups.
5. Become extra aware of opportunities to do acts of kindness. (a tradition for most Buddhists).
My religion is very simple. My religion is kindness. Dalai Lama
6. Take time off work allowing time to read, relax and go for a walk.
7. Enjoy the snow and winter wonderland.
8. Gather as a family to express loving appreciation, eat turkey and dote on the children.
9. Feel stressed by wanting the day to be perfect, eating too much and enduring drunk Uncle Harry.
10. Give and receive gifts made popular by the myth of St. Nicholas (1822).
11. Avoid being a Scrooge as described in a Christmas Carol (1843) and Dr. Seuss’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1957). From Dr. Seuss:
“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas . . . perhaps . . . means a little bit more!”
12. Serve at a homeless shelter offering comfort, care and hope.
PLUS during COVID-19 if you need some extra perspectives to celebrate the holidays, here are some ideas:
As we evolve as a human race on planet earth we increasingly create our own meanings, celebrations and rituals and are less persuaded by pressure to believe and buy into what we do not need, do not want, nor do not value. Happy Hanukkah, Happy Solstice, Merry Christmas . . . and may you celebrate the holidays your way!