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Taking Back the Holidays

I’ve been thinking about how the holidays have changed since I was a child.

We didn’t start decorating until well after Thanksgiving.  Last August red and green items started appearing in the stores in August!  Christmas candy was next to the Halloween candy two months ago, ready to budge in.  Pre-black Friday has smothered Thanksgiving.  Ads for buying and requests for donations have filled my mailboxes.  The word “Christmas” has become synonymous with “shopping.  The most common conversation seems to be: Person 1: “Ready for Christmas?” Person 2:  “No!  I still have ___ people to shop for!”

Exactly when did shopping become the main focus of Christmas?

When I was growing up, we had 5 children in our home (plus 3 sisters already married.) We would get simple Christmas gifts such as slippers, bath beads, hairbrushes, and pajamas, and then one big present, such as one toy or doll.  We did give gag gifts or and what Elaine on Seinfeld would call “re-gifts” (recycled gifts.)  It was wonderful, magical and beyond our wildest dreams!

We also had rituals, like caroling on Christmas Eve, dressing up and re-enacting the nativity scene, going to Midnight services and coming home for oyster stew by candlelight, rising early to open presents, having a huge feast with lots of relatives, playing cards,  ice skating, sledding, and visiting all day long.  The gifts were great, but the main part was having family at our house to celebrate the birth of Jesus. And now, the opposite has happened.  Shopping has taken over as the main event and talking about Jesus is considered politically incorrect!

If you feel the holidays have lost their perspective, think about what you can do to reclaim them.  If you feel stressed during the holidays – challenge the pressures and question why you give in to all the “have-tos.”  Shopping and spending alot of money is not a requirement of the holidays, neither is baking or partaking in all the events.  Take on what you can afford or have time for, and stick to your limits.  Passing along a book you have read, sharing canned goods (pickles, tomatoes, peaches, or jellies) or even making a scrapbook of old photos may be more appreciated than something that costs a great deal.

What do you want to reclaim from your childhood?  What would it take to make it happen? If you set an intention, you can make it happen through a plan of action.  If you need help and want to get started, email me at [email protected]  and I will get you started!

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Thanks, Norman

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