Christmas is sneaking up on me this year. To date I've done very little to prepare for the season. Tomorrow my mom, sister and I will be perusing the craft sales, and I must finally acknowledge that Christmas is right around the corner. I need to start planning.
That said, I feel I must share my true feelings (and I'm very sorry if this offends the people I love). I don't like Christmas. The season totally stresses me out. The gifts and events and glitter and busyness of Christmas leave me feeling overwhelmed. I find it all utterly exhausting. If Ben and I could whisk our family away to a tropical island for the last week of December, we would do it. We would totally escape the season.
Christmas feels so artificial to me, and I become more acutely aware of the blatant consumerism every year. It seems like Christmas is simply a grand marketing scheme designed to drive retail sales. Where can we find the true meaning of the season? Baby Jesus is lost at the mall somewhere, apparently. He's hiding under all the tinsel and fluff and fake plastic snow. Christmas has become all about stuff, stuff, stuff. It makes me feel horribly guilty to live in gluttonous North America.
Have I always felt this way? No. Strangely enough, I think my aversion to Christmas began when Ben and I started having children. The season became so much more stressful once babies joined our family. The stuff of Christmas got out of control. The expectations and anticipation of the season were blown out of proportion. (I am trying to tread lightly here. Please don't take this the wrong way.) Our children are very blessed because our extended families are very generous. The gifts our children receive are lovely and well-meaning. We are thankful, truly. But the stuff is overwhelming. Four children times dozens of gifts is a lot to digest. We don't need it all. We don't have space for all. The children get confused about the true meaning of the season (and Jesus sometimes gets lost in the shuffle).
Christmas is a busy time of year. We have Christmas concerts, church parties, family get-togethers, work functions, social obligations. The calendar fills up at an alarming rate. Our children are small and it's all quite tiring. Our family has been blessed with excellent health his fall. I'd love to keep everyone well-rested and healthy, and simply stick close to home. Last year our family was very sick through most of the winter. I think last year's exhausting trial has coloured my perception of this year.
Thus, at the moment I am feeling incredibly "bah humbug" about Christmas. I honestly wish we could skip forward to January. So far I've only purchased a few gifts for our children. I need to compile a more detailed shopping list, but am at a complete loss. I need to think about food and cards and decorations. What will we do for our extended family this year? How will we include the children? What will be meaningful and appreciated?
Ultimately, I want to keep Christ at the centre of Christmas. For the time being, all I feel is guilt over my crummy attitude. (Guilt and apprehension. My gut is full of rocks when I think about the looming season.) How can our family celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way? How can we create lovely memories and traditions for our children? How can we bless others during this season? How can we avoid getting caught up in hype and consumerism?
I don't really have any answers tonight, but I do feel better for getting my feelings out in the open.