Christmas and Hanukkah are coming up on us fast. I managed to get the tree up, despite the fibro and fatigue, though you can see it’s not decorated (yet). I also got the big nativity out of the closet, and by big, I mean BIG. Lots more to do.
There’s a neverending stream of to-do with Christmas: parties, fighting the crowds, wound up kids with wish lists, you name it. I’d like to point out what often gets lost–that YOU name it. You have choices about how busy you are, about how much you spend, how crazy your holiday time is.
Do you “lose” Christmas during the Christmas season? Does Hanukkah cease to be about light, miracles, and the love of God somewhere along the way?
Or does the reality of money (the lack of it actually) get all up in your giving spirit? Gifts people you love want and you just cannot afford can make you feel like a heel. The idea that the amount you spend equals how much you love is everywhere around us, both subtly and not so subtly.
I live on SSDI, so money is always tight. It is for many people, for many reasons. I think about just my immediate family and wonder how on earth I can afford even $30 a person. SSDI limits the amount you are allowed to save. They cut your benefits if your total assets, from the car to the savings account, total more than $2k.
How to get around that…? I began a few years ago making fudge, and cookies, and mailing them for gifts. The shipping is deadly but I’d have to ship anything I gifted anyway. I started out sending dozens and dozens of treats, spending days baking at a time. The fatigue has intruded on that quantity, more than once.
But I’ve found that I can still make killer fudge easy enough, and I’ve started making cookies they won’t get from anyone else to try and make up for it. Orange cranberry cookies, or apple butter cookies, for example. How many lemon blueberry cookies have you seen amidst the typical cookie buffet at Christmas parties?
If you’re disabled, the reality of what you can and what you can’t do can make you believe you’re the party pooper. Do you find there are many activities you should say no to but feel bad if you do? Are there things you could do but no one in your family is willing to accomodate?
Solving the “how do I manage” or “what to I give” comes down to what we believe is important about the holiday we celebrate. I for one would rather have a genuine and joyful season than a “perfect” Christmas that looks like a magazine spread. I don’t need a bunch of “stuff” under the tree to be happy. I have most of what I need in terms of “stuff”. One or two gifts that are useful, or say a special yummy I won’t usually indulge in is enough for me. I know, I’m weird!
For whatever reason, does a season of peace and joy turn into strife and frazzle on you? You wouldn’t be alone if it does, that’s for sure! Unfortunately, the way we’ve come to define a “perfect Christmas” means we’re so hassled and broke there’s not much enjoyable about it anymore. I heard on a TV show that 47% of people would rather skip the holidays altogether. How sad!
What would we lose if there was no Christmas?
Maybe we should just lose the crazy in Christmas, and replace it with what we really need: joy, love, peace, and kindness. And you DO have that ability, regardless of the best sabotage efforts of the usual Grinch suspects. For many it’s their family members who are the Grinches, and we can’t change other people. Some of the un-fun is unavoidable.
What is really important? Think about which of your personal traditions will no one forget if you kept, and what would no one remember if you skipped.
Surely you know someone, even just one person, who would think a cup of hot cocoa while watching the kids play in the snow is what makes a holiday. Maybe you’d like to decorate the tree as a family, talking about why this ornament goes up or who we remember with that ornament, and that would be spot on for you.
Nearly all of us kinda “know” what we need. If we’re hassled, a peaceful time helps us catch our breath. If our family’s bickering is getting on our nerves, we’d like to have a time where everyone just gets along and says how much they love each other. If we cannot afford a gift for someone, or they cannot afford one for us, time together is more valuable anyway!
Whatever it is you need or want, say it, and ask for it. It is their gift to you, and yours to them. Chose to do what matters, that will be remembered many a Christmas from now.
“Mom, this year, instead of buying you a gift, I want to take a day and just spend it with you. Remember how we used to (–)? Let’s do that again.”
“Honey, I know my body cannot stand up to a cross country flight this year. Can we make your Grandfather a video of all the memories we have of him, and all the reasons we love him? Then we can use the internet to visit, and still be able to have him be a part of our holiday?”
I know it can be hard, but try to put the miracle back in Hanukkah, and the peace back in Christmas this year! You can do it, at least a little bit, in little moments. And if you get to feeling down about what you can or can’t do, here’s a video that is really inspiring: TheBlaze.com: Video: Glenn Beck Program : Nick Vujicic – Video.