Christmas should be joyous, an incredible and happy time; together with family, friends alike, especially for kids it can be a very special time of year.
But unfortunately the reality is that for most it is a stressful time. Those missing a loved one, those that experienced a hard year or lived through tragedy. Kids can feel stressed about what they may or may not get, or if their parents are not together who to be with. Parents often stress about what they can and cannot afford, is it enough. And for those who do not live with the luxurious standards of most North American societies, it is just another day without food, or toys or maybe without their family.
I often feel disgusted with our North American “Christmas”. There are plenty of poor here in N. America that struggle through the holidays though, the jobless man that freezes out in the cold every night. Or the mental health issues that have affected many from living a joyous life. Those struggling with addiction or survive on very little day to day. My heart aches for these people and the struggles they endure daily, I feel very lucky to have what I have to share it with my kids and those around me.
I watched a father rush his kids into Walmart during a school day he ushered the boy who was in shorts (in -1c) to try on a flannel shirt, for warmth I asssumed, the girl looked like she could use a shower. My heart broke at the assumptions that were going on in my head. I watched them awhile. He looked like a hard working blue collared dad, doing the best he could. I wanted to help them but didn’t want my assumption to insult or hurt more. I reluctantly went on my way trying to think good thoughts for them, they had each other, the girl had a warmish looking albeit dirty pink coat on, they all had shoes and socks. I prayed for them to receive some good fortune. Their picture will always stay with me. I wish I was braver to have asked them if they needed anything or maybe had just smiled and said hello.
A lot of people are surprised when they ask me if I have done all my shopping for the holidays and I always answer yes- the follow up questions tend to be what did you get or wow- how? and my answer is easy I simply do not do it. My kids get things they need that I buy on sale through out the year, books, socks, pajamas. They do get a gift from Santa (1) and a toy or something special from mom and dad. But I really do not see the point in spoiling them with stuff, more things they don’t really need, that will end up in the trash. But what about your family? your in-laws? your brothers or uncles? sister in laws and nephews? I don’t buy gifts, granted we have a split into four families, no one closer than 3 hours away so we tend to not see each other at Christmas. But how do you give nothing? – I say its easy most people know how I feel about waste, recycling, the environment, and especially all the unnecessary junk that gets handed out at Christmas-( if people cut their useless gift giving in half and donated the rest to a worthy cause the world could be a better place and less waste). If people come to visit, I give homemade cookies and a card.
I always send Christmas cards with family photos or drawings the kids make, some times a little ornament or picture frame holding the photo or I donate in their names online and they usually get something telling them what their gift is for or how it helps.
In my heart I am doing what I believe to be the right thing. I do not want support the commercialization and wastefulness that has become the holiday of Christmas- which is also why I ask people not to bring gifts when they come to our house, we do not need them- there is someone out that that could use it more.
But giving gifts feels good- we say…. well giving money to a homeless shelter feels better, giving money to support a cause that I believe in and are important in helping those in need, feels better. I choose to help wildlife and raise awareness for the environment. Donate meals to the shelters that feed the homeless.
Please start something new give a card with a photo and donate.
Free yourself and help others.
Helping the homeless:
Environment or wildlife or animal charities:
***This is not an attack on Christmas*** But what it has become in this country.Christmas should be about spending time together not opening presents together its about laughing, crying, hugging, sharing ourselves with each other…..and maybe a little eggnog 😉
Merry Christmas. Happy holidays. Happy Hanukah. Happy Kwanza.
Thanks for reading