If there is one time of the year that high expectations prevail, it is Christmas. I am reminded of stories my ninety-year-old Grandmother tells me about her Christmas’s as a child. There were no extravagant presents and endless spending on gifts. At a time of mass emigration from Ireland most families were missing at least one member of the family from the festivities. And there was little hope of them ever coming home again, never mind for Christmas.
Christmas then was based in faith. Midnight mass held a special magic of its own and Christmas Day was all about cooking a goose and eating heartily. My Nan talks about her excitement at getting an apple and an orange in her Christmas stocking and neighbors calling on each other to be sure everyone had enough. “Simple times”, she says, “no stress, no pressure, just gratitude for what we had in the moment.”
Many of us will find ourselves having a very different celebration this year because of the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of travel restrictions we may be without family, perhaps with less money and maybe all alone. This year has been an incredibly difficult one for us all. Regardless of our situation, it is possible to make the best of what we have available to us this Christmas.
Changing our mindset.
All of us have been forced to change how we think about the world around us right now. Many of us have been living simpler, paired back lifestyles already, which can be beneficial in lots of ways. The festive season can become more meaningful with a simpler outlook. Instead of the hustle and bustle of the office party and endless get-togethers, we can now make the holidays about rest and relaxation.
We can make gifts, like baked goods, or crafted items which are less expensive and mean more to both the giver and the receiver. We can make this time less about consumerism and more about the nourishment of mind, body and spirit, like it used to be.
Making new memories.
It can be very tempting to pull the covers over your head, forget Christmas and instead binge on alcohol. It is far more rewarding and beneficial to make new memories. Take yourself out and about with your camera and take pictures of the things you cherish about Christmas. Maybe it’s the lights, or things in nature that only appear at this time of year.
How about volunteering at a homeless shelter or other charitable organization where you don’t have to be alone? Offering your time to help others can be incredibly fulfilling especially at this time of year.
Make Christmas special just for you.
Being alone at Christmas can be a really indulgent event if you want it to be. You have all this extra time to devote to yourself. Make it an end of year celebration for just getting through this chaos. You deserve just as much recognition and celebration as anyone else. Make Christmas Eve a self-care event. Whip up some home-made beauty products from exotic smelling oils. Relax with a good book, catch up on TV shows you haven’t had time for or watch your all-time favorite film a dozen times. Make a really special meal for yourself on Christmas Day. Go all out and set the table, light some candles and indulge.
The joy of technology.
Thankfully modern-day communication methods can bring great relief during a difficult period. We can be thousands of miles away and still sit down to dinner together over skype or face-time. We can call our friends and relatives and feel just that little bit closer wherever we may be.
Christmas at InTheRooms.com.
Don’t forget that the In The Rooms community is always here for you twenty four hours a day regardless of where you are in the world. There will be a meeting marathon on Christmas Day so you never have to be alone. Please reach out if you are struggling.
If nothing else, this year will give us a talking point for future Christmas dinner conversation. I hope to be able to sit down one day and tell my own grandchildren stories about this year and how it brought back the true essence of what family and community is really about. I would like to be able to tell them that humanity was greatly improved by this time of quiet and reflection and that it made the world a better place. Remember that there will be more Christmas Days in the future. I sincerely hope that this one has special significance to you.
Happy Christmas everyone!