My Favorite Thing About Christmas….and It’s Not What You Think
by: Rebecca Ramdeholl, C.H.N.C.
Christmas 2017 is upon us, and the kids’ excitements are tangible and potent. They just can’t wait for the presents from our large family. We’ve started planning our contributions towards our families’ Christmas dinners and baking Christmas cookies. But Christmas is different now.
When I was a kid, obviously, the best part of Christmas was the gifts. However, the afterglow of the gift unwrapping and eating Christmas dinner was the most spiritually satisfying for me as a child. My brother and sisters and I would be sitting on the floor in front of the tree, fireplace glowing, surrounded by discarded and crumpled up boxes and wrapping paper. Our dog would chew on the balled up paper, and enjoy his Christmas treat. Mom and Dad would be cleaning up, but occasionally sitting with us and looking at our new things. It wasn’t until I had my own kids, that my appreciation for Christmas changed.
There is so much work in keeping up with the Christmas image. I never realized how much effort it was to get that perfect Christmas dinner put together. Navigating through the emerging personalities of aging parents, kids growing up, and siblings expanding and growing their own brood, it took a lot of mediating. And it’s exhausting.
So, at this point in my life, what are my favorite things about Christmas? Well, it sure ain’t the gifts!!! As I got older, my gifts over Christmas have dwindled, but honestly, so has my wish list. Is it the food? We usually celebrated with seafood on Christmas Eve, with my mom’s best soup ever, fish egg soup (it’s a soup my grandparents made in Slovakia for Christmas - rybacia polievka). My husband’s side usually did Turkey and Ham, with a bajillion other things because the family is so large. With the meaning of foods completely drowned out by the need to feed the masses, the food just doesn’t seem to be as important anymore. While still delicious, it’s just not the same. The booze? Please. We can drink wine, beer, whatever all year long, so Christmas doesn’t make wine taste any more special. Being with family…..well, read the paragraph above about emerging personalities : /
Truly my favorite thing about Christmas is the time. The time after the rush is done, the gifts opened, after we’re fed, and we’re home from all the gatherings. The time between Christmas and before the kids go back to school is the best thing about Christmas. I love having the kids home. It gives me a chance and time to make healthy lunches for them, instead of rushing, and cramming whatever I can into their lunch in the hopes that they eat something! It gives me time to enjoy the quiet because everyone is busy exploring their new presents. It’s time for me to appreciate the warmth of our house, and gratitude in keeping my family home safe and warm for a little while before school starts. I have time to make my bone broth, and any other “exotic” foods that I insist my family try. The slowing down and thinking of the year that has passed, and thinking of the new year to come, it sharpens my focus on my accomplishments and my goals for 2018.
By the way, it's Winter Solstice today too. I can thank my walk in the winter woods behind my house for my newfound clarity this Season.
So with the coming Christmas, I’d like to wish you and yours all the best that the Season has to offer. I hope you get to experience the afterglow of Christmas and really feel the contentment and gratitude it can bring. May you enjoy a quiet that your heart yearns for, may you find exuberance and jubilation in your gatherings, and may you find that you are truly richer than you think are.