Christmas is almost upon us. Whilst most of us look forward to this day, the period leading up to it can also be very stressful to some. If you are from a large family, you may have lots of presents to buy. For me, I had to start getting presents ready and cards made (card-making is one of the few creative outlets I have and is very therapeutic) a month ahead of time just so I can get to the post office and make sure everything is shipped to my overseas friends in time (at the time of writing, it would appear that three weeks before Christmas might still not be enough time!).
Usually this time of the year is also a time when many companies wind down and take a breather after a busy year. For me, I have been working on a project that is scheduled to be implemented in early February, which means that, in fact, the majority of our work had to be completed just before Christmas. So, instead of being able to take it easy, my team and I have been busier than ever, especially since most of the team will be on leave for the holiday season.
Whatever news reports may say of the retail sector suffering what with the economy being slow and people not being able to afford the indulgences of years pre-GFC, the shops are still busy and popular gifts are sold out. Everywhere I go, there are still people rushing into the shops and lining up at the cash registers. No doubt the madness will ramp up even more on Christmas Eve as people rush out to get those last-minute gifts for unexpected visitors or just because they had been too busy to do their shopping any earlier.
It reminds me of the very first record (yes, I am talking vinyl here) I owned – the Chipmunks’ Christmas. On the record, there was a song where last-minute shoppers are rushing to buy toys for their kids and complaining that they didn’t come with batteries. Amidst the madness was a poor mother who could not afford the harmonica that her sick son coveted. In the end, Alvin realised that he didn’t need the golden harmonica he so wanted and gave it to the sick boy instead.
Some call this the “silly season”. As a practicing Catholic, this is quite contrary to the importance of the occasion – the birth of Christ, our Saviour. Even if you are not Catholic or Christian, perhaps it is apt, in all your rush and madness, to take the time out and be still. Reflect on the year past; reflect on all that you have and forget about all that you don’t. On Christmas day, when it starts getting stressful about guests visiting or worrying about burning the turkey or not having enough food for all, or the dishwasher breaking down, take a deep breath and be still for a moment. If you are lucky enough to be able to afford it, bask in the joy of gift-giving. Be grateful for all the gifts that you receive. Count your blessings and enjoy the day.
Merry Christmas xox