I remember one Christmas dinner in Canad, just before we moved to New Zealand. I had worked really hard to create a
fabulous meal. I had attempted to bring both sides of the family together, you know blend the in-laws with the parents. We had the grandparents around for breakfast so they could share the opening of gifts and I had 26 people coming for Christmas dinner.
I had expectations of how nice the dinner would be. How we would all be kind and loving to each other. I was tired. Two young boys, weeks of preparation and hopes and dreams. I love Christmas and believe that it is a time of peace of earth good will to all.
But I forgot, on purpose, that my mother and my sister-in-law have very specific ideas of how things should be done. And when I put something on the table, both of them criticized it and I went to pieces.
Thirty plus years on, that dinner still sticks with me. For me, it is an example of the fragility of emotions, expectations and hopes for Christmas experiences.
And since then I have recognized that Christmas, for many people, is a day of disappointment.
And that disappointment is what can get us stuck and make us Scrooges or worse depressed and despondent.
How can you prevent the emotional explosions and disappointments? Is it possible to get out of stuck wanting a perfect Christmas or any other special occasion?
I believe that there are choices you can make regarding any occasion.
You can choose to go with the flow and accept that what is happening is as it was meant to happen and just sit back and enjoy (helps with a large glass of your favorite – but keep the alcohol to a minimum or the situation gets worse).
Or you can tell everyone exactly what you expect and then hold them to it. Just remember that they too have expectations so this could be a really difficult day without compromises in everyone’s expectations.
Or you can look around at the imperfect situation and count the blessing that you at least are with people who you care about and know that you can choose to make this a special day by the way you treat others.
There are many people this year who have no one to celebrate with. There are many people who are alone, their family elsewhere and they will not be with the ones they love or who love them. Or worse, they may not actually have anyone they could be with.
Yes Christmas can be the time when all men come together in peace and harmony for a moment.
But Christmas is often the time when families break up or death and disaster strike. It is the time when many people feel acutely lonely and isolated and this year word has it there are even more people than in nearly 7 decades who will not have enough food to eat on Christmas day never mind any presents.
So while I wish you the blessings of Christmas, I ask you to think about the choices you will make throughout the holiday season.
Drive safe. Drink in moderation. Eat in moderation. And give thanks for the people you share the day with and whatever food and drink you have. You are blessed and fortunate.
Merry Christmas and may the blessings of He whose birth we celebrate grant you a wonderful Christmas.
Simplifier, Mentor, Presenter