Christmas is one of those times of the year when people lose their minds. Everyone goes completely crazy; spending too much money, buying all the gifts, drinking all the booze and judging each other about what is right and what isn’t. The truth is, the meaning of Christmas or X’mas or the holiday season is different for everyone and that’s okay!
Some people believe that Christmas is about the birth of Christ. It’s a celebration of his life and a time to give thanks. For others, it’s about drinking alcohol, eating food and going crazy over the festive season. For some people, Christmas is really hard. It’s lonely. It’s a reminder of the family that isn’t there, for whatever reason. It’s a time that makes them feel inadequate because they don’t have all the money that other people do. It’s a time of shame and guilt and resentment. It’s not a great time for everyone. For others, it’s the most magical time of the year.
My Childhood Christmas
I absolutely love Christmas. It’s hands down my favourite time of the year. Nothing in the world beats a white snowy wintry Christmas. With mulled wine and Christmas markets. With rich stews and fireplaces. These are the Christmas’s of many of my childhood years. Unfortunately, not so common as I’ve gotten older and my dad hasn’t been around to take me on European adventures. Of course I’m thankful for those memories as an African child who got to experience snowy white Christmas, that isn’t the norm.
Christmas here is summer time fun. Family and food and
champagne sparkling wine and laughter. I wait all year for the 3 week period when I get to spend time with my family and friends. This year we have fewer friends, but my family is visiting for Christmas which means it will be our first Christmas in a new country but we won’t be alone which is pretty cool. We get to make brand new traditions all over again.
Our Family Traditions
Every year we put the tree up on December 1st, which also happens to be our anniversary. Our tree doesn’t look like something out of a magazine, it looks like someone vomited Christmas decorations on it. We watch Christmas movies allllll through December and we plan our Christmas lunch ages in advance. This year, I was just so excited, I put the tree up mid November because I couldn’t bloody wait anymore. We put the lights on in December though, which helps to keep the Christmas tradition alive.
We’ve also attended our first Christmas parade which was so awesome! Nelson, a town on the south island tried to mix things up by having a less than traditional Santa and it didn’t go down well. Personally I thought it was super cool but not everyone likes change.
Our 3-year-old wrote his letter to Santa and asked for a combination of robots and skeletons and a skeleton bird and I’m not sure where on earth I’m going to find such things but oh well.
The whole idea of Santa buying my kid all the fancy stuff doesn’t work for me either. We do all the work and then some imaginary fat guy gets the credit – nope! So Santa brings one small gift and the others are from us. And worst of all for me is that when kids go back to school, Santa bought a bike and paw patrol for one kid but something small, like a toy car for another. I’m just not okay with the favouritism that the big fat man shows. So nope, he will be bringing the smallest gift to our home.
Anyway, I read about this really cool initiative that exists here in New Zealand. People donate “gifts” and anyone with a welfare card can go “shop” for free for their family and there’s even a wrapping station. I think this is a magical idea. I can’t imagine the despair that comes with seeing the disappointment on the faces of your children when they don’t get a gift.
I have been thinking about all the Christmas posts I’ve seen on my social media. I’m friends with and follow a lot of bloggers. So much of what I’m seeing is “the ultimate Christmas gift list” and quite frankly, I couldn’t afford so much on those lists and I can imagine that a lot of people who see these kinds of posts feel less than. Please remember that many bloggers get sent those things for free by brands who want their products promoted so they aren’t even spending that money themselves.
I don’t think Christmas has to be about buying your kids the most expensive presents. Of course it’s lovely to give your children cool stuff and we have bought something for Oden that he has been asking for since we arrived in New Zealand but there have been times when I’ve thought maybe I need to buy more, bigger, fancier gifts but then I remember, that Christmas isn’t about that for us.
It’s about the people we love. It’s about the laughter and the memories made. The presents, nice as they are to receive, aren’t what most people remember I don’t think. I don’t look back on any year and think “oh yes that was the year I got X” I remember the fun I had with my family. How we all lay around after lunch, laughing and joking, drinking tea. The memories are everything to me.
So yes, we will be opening gifts on Christmas day but they definitely won’t be the most expensive. Don’t go crazy trying to live up to the dream, only to be crippled by debt in the new year. Don’t feel the pressure to make it something financially stressful. Christmas for me is about family and nothing makes me happier than a day being thankful for the family I have.
I wish you all a very Merry Christmas no matter how you celebrate this season, may it be filled with love and laughter!