Ho, ho, oh no. It’s that time of year again.
Christmas carols echo throughout the malls where you’re bombarded with brightly coloured signs in shop windows demanding your attention. Starbucks has started using their Christmas coffee cups and candy canes are stuck all over the place. It’s not an uncommon occurrence to see elves roaming the malls and if you time your visit right you might even spot Santa in that big white chair that seems to spend more time vacant than it does being occupied. Children’s screams of delight fill the air mixed with the worried wails of the babies that have been passed over from their parents to a fat stranger with a big white beard and dressed in a thick red suit. And if you’re a child around at the wrong time, you might be scarred for life and witness Santa’s beard being pulled off by some troublesome kid (Yeah, I was that kid that pulled the beard off as a baby – me and Santa clearly didn’t get off to a good start).
It’s chaotic. Entering a mall anytime from now until Christmas can be kinda scary!
Don’t get me wrong, I love Christmas. Or at least I used to. But since the news broke that Santa does not in fact travel the world in his sleigh pulled by 9 reindeers on Christmas Eve and float down chimneys (which, when you think about it, is sort of a weird thought) and the presents in my Santa sack were not in fact placed there by a jolly fat man with a white beard wearing a red suit with black boots but instead snuck in there by my loving mother – well the whole magic of Christmas has kind of disappeared.
Remember the massive countdown to Christmas as a kid? It started back in October in 2 months to go and days on the calendar were religiously marked off until the 1st of December when you were FINALLY allowed to open your chocolate advent calendar (unless you were like me and usually just ate them anyway). Remember the anticipation that slowly built leading up to Christmas? The Christmas activities just before school finished? Putting the Christmas tree up and the first presents appearing under the tree? And then finally, the night of Christmas Eve, where you’d go to bed early knowing that if you were still awake when Santa got here, you wouldn’t get any presents but really you would just lie awake for hours listening out for the pitter patter of reindeer feet landing on the roof until your eyes were just too heavy to stay open anymore and next thing you knew it was Christmas morning and you’d run down the hall and with much relief you’d find Santa had indeed come and left a generous stack of presents. Along with the leftover crumbs from the cookies and the empty glass of milk.
And then you get older. You find out Santa isn’t real. The pile of presents slowly diminishes. You actually have to GIVE people presents you buy yourself and not just put your name on one Mum bought on your behalf. The drama of shopping for the perfect present for that ever-growing list and the financial stress of realising you need a lot more money than you have. Then there’s the Christmas cards from relatives that you forgot existed or one from Great Aunt Mabel that you could have sworn passed away 6 years ago. All which expect their own creative and meaningful replies – difficult when you can’t remember who half of them are! It all just makes the lead up to Christmas pretty stressful. And once you’re finished gift shopping and wrapping and christmas tree decorating, where’s the time to get excited?
I mean I miss getting excited for Christmas and I really do envy people that still have it (the Christmas spirit). But it just doesn’t feel like Christmas anymore. You can walk through the mall and be bombarded with as much Christmas advertising as they can throw at you but it’s still not enough to spread Christmas cheer.
Maybe it’s just me being bitter. Maybe I’m just getting over the humid and temperamental Kiwi Summer. I’m dying to go experience a White Christmas. Honestly, Christmas in New York is on my bucket list and I realise how contradictory that sounds when I was complaining about the chaos that ensues in malls in Auckland let alone New York. There’s just something about a white Christmas that seems so magical! ( insert little emoticon with hearts for eyes- can you even put emoticons in here?) And I have a little love affair going on with New York despite the fact I’ve never been…yet.
Anyway, back to topic. It just annoys me how Christmas has become so commercialised. Even Christmas parades are getting less and less Christmasy every year. And then there’s ‘Coca-Cola Christmas in the Park’. I mean, it’s in the name. And when you click that even Santa himself is a product of Coca-Cola now, well that says something.
But what I want to know, is what does Christmas mean to you personally? To little kids, it’s generally one of the 2 best days of the year along with their birthday in terms of present hauling. To others it’s about celebrating the birth of Christ. And to most people it’s about spending time with family and appreciating what they have. And of course if you don’t celebrate Christmas I suppose it’s just a rather big inconvenience where the shops are all shut for a day!
I’m not even sure what Christmas means to me anymore. I know as a kid it was definitely about the presents and the amazing roast dinner and BBQ my grandparents cooked and not to mention the chocolate soufflé and the homemade Christmas crackers I used to make with my Nana. Then as I got older I began to appreciate spending time with my family – blood and the people that have become practically blood family over the years. Over the past couple of years, a lot of shit has changed and that’s even affected how I spend Christmas now.
And really family is pretty subjective. It’s not about blood, it’s about who’s there for you no matter what and who you can rely on through thick and thin.
Anyway, back to it. I’m not gonna get all super personal in case Cameron Slater’s still snoopin’ around on my blog (I learnt THAT lesson last time 😛 ). To put it simply, my family situation is not what you would call normal. I know you’re thinking “We all have dysfunctional families” but no you really have no idea hahah. Anyway, like I said not getting into it.
This Christmas, my personal goal is to focus on being happy. I want to celebrate my grandparents still being around – the two strongest people I know who I owe a lot to. I want to spend some quality time with the other people that mean the most to me. My mum. My little sister who I want to spend heaps of time with before I hopefully move out of home next year and before she gets to school and hits that age of being too cool to be seen in public with her older sister 😉 I want to appreciate the small things in life and the things that I have going for me. I want to do more things to help people less fortunate than I am because I might be self-centered sometimes but I’m fully aware I’m actually quite privileged. Overall, I want to make myself into a better me, one that I can be proud of – mentally and physically. And I’m hoping that by doing that, I can find that Christmas spirit again.
So my challenge to you is to think about what Christmas really means to you. When was the last time you really thought about the small things and appreciated the things you have going for you instead of pondering on the things that you don’t. Next time you step into a mall try not to get so carried away with the carols and the screams and the sales and when you’re getting stressed trying to find the perfect presents for everyone (especially if you tend to be a little bit of a perfectionist like me) remember that the people who mean the most won’t care as long as you put some thought into it.
And if all else fails, just remember in one month it will all be over for another year 😉