Another 9 days until Christmas.
You see and feel it in every corner – Christmas tree in every building and shopping centre, ham and prawns lining the supermarket fridges, bakeries framed with gingerbread houses, TV channels playing Christmas themed shows, city bars filled with office workers having a drink with their mates. It is a lovely time of the year and it seems like people are generally happier and more approachable.
What is Christmas to me?
When I was younger all I knew was that it was just another public holiday. I was not brought up a Christian and I did not grow up in a country where it was widely celebrated. Although I knew the meaning of Christmas and why it was celebrated I never truly understood the significance of the day.
Many years have passed since then. I am still not a Christian, but it is somewhat different now. In between then and now, I have moved to a different country, grown up, married a devout Catholic with whom I have two beautiful kids. As families do and with most festive seasons we started developing our own traditions and our own interpretation of what Christmas is to us – how we feel about it, what we like about it, what activities we associate it with. As such to us Christmas symbolises more than just a religious occasion, it is a time of year where we make time for and do things to show appreciation for each other.
So what does Christmas mean to me now?
- Putting up a Christmas tree and decorating it with the family and lining it with lots and lots of presents (although this year we are putting a hold on the tree until we move back into our house).
- Taking the kids to see Christmas pretty lights in the city and around the suburbs.
- Going to Christmas markets and street parties to experience the feeling of community.
- Getting to get into work later and leave earlier and still get lots of things done because most of the office is out on leave.
- Christmas shopping (and always, always last minute despite my best intentions).
- Sweltering hot weather.
- Christmas eve dinner with his family and Christmas day lunch with mine (or vice versa) and eating ham, sumptuous seafood and salads and drinking cool drinks like beer and punches.
- Building a gingerbread house for my daughter (and this year I plan to let her help me decorate with smarties, candies and all things sweet).
- My husband going to church and maybe taking the kids with him this year – last year we tried but it did not turn out too well.
- Watching the Pope and the catholic church on TV on Christmas day.
- Watching It’s a Beautiful Life and Mr Grinch – this used to be my husband’s personal now turned family tradition.
And most of all, to me, it is a time to give, to show gratitude, to count our blessings, to spend quality time with our loved ones and to reflect on all the good things that have come to us through the year which we never do enough of in our busy lives these days. Amen. Have a Merry Christmas everyone.
What does Christmas mean to you?