3 ways to engage you and your family in the Christmas spirit all year long
I exhaled a deep breath, a sigh of relief really, during the last few moments of Christmas 2020. As the culmination of months of anticipation, planning, shopping, and gifting seemingly came to an end, there was a bit of sadness that lingered on the tips of my exhaustion. We had so much fun spending time together, We ate food, sang Christmas songs, played games and spent time with extended family through FaceTime. We felt so full. Full of love, life and Hope as we remembered the birth of Jesus during one of our Christmas celebrations.
During dinner, my oldest blurted out after putting a spoonful of macaroni and cheese in her mouth, filling her cheeks, “364 days until Christmas is here again”. In that moment I paused and really listened to the feelings that accompanied her statement. Yes it's true that there are 364 days until the holiday decor is up in its full glory and wrapped gifts are nestled under the tree but most everything else about the holiday doesn’t have to wait 364 days. The most important aspects of the “holiday season” really shouldn’t wait until next December.
Giving. Giving is one of the quickest ways to direct our thoughts and attention away from our egoic nature. It can be a tangible way to intentionally put the needs of someone else above our own. This fundamentally is a part of the “magic” of Christmas. That energy lives in the air and that altruistic spirit is a part of many of our Christmas traditions. So finding opportunities for giving and service throughout the year both formally volunteering or giving to charities and informally seeking ways to put the needs of family and friends you see everyday above your own. This way of being, is a way to honor and maintain the spirit of Christmas throughout the year.
Being with People. Being with people sounds simple but can be very triggering for many of us. Sometimes we may feel energized by people which makes us fearful we may not feel ourselves when we are alone or we may be Loners and the idea of being with people seems utterly draining. Either way being with people is a wonderful exercise of the spirit of Christmas. The idea of coming together unconditionally around a shared experience is just a pointer to the reality that we can all come together and rally around our oneness and connectivity any time of the year. We can be with people and just Be and enjoy each other in whatever moment we are in. Not coating the interactions with past disappointments or future expectations. We are all here together on this Earth experiencing life in different ways but ultimately are just different expressions of the Consciousness of the universe, God, the ultimate Being (whatever name you choose)
Be Present. When it is Christmas time, many of us don’t want to be anywhere else. Our minds often have anticipated the day for months and once it is here there usually is a time during the day when we aren’t thinking about the past anticipation of “Christmas day” or the gloom of the impending post Christmas aftermath. We are truly in the moment, Enjoying Christmas. We are fully present, in the here and now, and the “thinking, planning, ruminating” part of our mind has ceased. This degree of presence is not limited to any holiday or sacred ritual. Being present brings that celebratory feeling. Being present is the sacredness to any ritual.
We can incorporate these practices in our daily living all year long and when Christmas time rolls back around our lives as well as the holiday tradition will be that much richer because of how we embodied the Christmas spirit the previous 364 days.