Christmas is such a special time of the year. A time for celebration and family and joy. And also a time when the corporate world absolutely thrives.
You’ve all seen it. From about November 1st through New Years Day, the world explodes with Christmas magic. Picking out your tree, going to see the lights, enjoying the Nutcracker at the local ballet, ice skating in the snow, or simply curling up at home with hot chocolate watching your favorite Hallmark Christmas movie.
These are all special traditions and memorable moments. We all have those things that make Christmas, well, Christmas.
I have found that as Christmas has grown from a simple holiday into a season into a sensation, there is a lot of pressure to be celebrating right. Just hop over to social media for pictures of people in their cute winter hats and scarves in front of big Christmas trees with the people they love. It’s a beautiful picture of a perfect holiday, is it not? And while that does sound absolutely lovely, if that's not exactly what your Christmas looks like, that is 100% okay.
I’ve been having a little trouble getting into the holiday spirit this year. First of all, I live in Florida. The temperatures have dropped to a “freezing” 50 degrees and the only snow we’ve experienced is the Disney magic of fake snow soap (which was still beautiful and I felt like I was home for a moment, but that is besides the point). Life has been business as usual. I’ve been going to work and auditions and spending my days off doing laundry and grocery shopping. Nothing too special or holiday-y there. And I’m new here. My family lives 1,000 miles away and so do all of my closest friends. So even though I have been staying social with new friends here, it's a little different than having go-to family and friends to go out and participate in classic Christmas activities with.
I miss going ice skating, or visiting the Christmas trees, or decorating gingerbread houses at home. I miss the snowy, traditional, picture perfect holiday season.
And even though I miss those things, in some ways I’m okay with it. Because the beauty of new beginnings is starting new traditions.
Just because the world tells you to celebrate in certain ways, it doesn’t mean that's the only way.
So, I don’t have a snowy picture in front of a Christmas tree this year, it doesn’t mean I haven’t seen other sights that brought a smile to my face this season. And maybe I won’t be watching Hallmark movies with mom this year, but that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy a good cheesy Netflix original at my apartment. And just because its not snowing, that doesn’t mean I can’t try to blanket my world in laughter and love.
I’ve been feeling all this pressure to not take the holiday season for granted. It’s my favorite time of year, and I really feel like I should be making the most of it! The world overloads you with the spirit of the season, so much so that I’m desperately trying to fit it all in. And if I’m not out doing something Christmas-y, it’s a waste of my time, right?
But when I actually take a moment to think, I’m enjoying the season on days I don’t even realize it. By breathing in the holiday atmosphere and taking time to be thankful, I realize that all the holiday pomp and circumstance is great fun, but doesn’t define a successful Christmas.
After all, what do all the cheesy movies say Christmas is all about? It’s a season of giving and generosity. A celebration of the birth of Jesus and the grace of God. A time where people are a little more willing to put goodness and light into the world. A time when we come together to spread love and cheer.
To do all of those things, you don’t need a Christmas tree. You don’t need a crazy light show or a heaping pile of presents. You don’t need a packed schedule of winter activities. You need the attitude. The cheer. The love.
So my Christmas isn’t picture perfect this year. The picture of my Christmas Day is waking up, FaceTiming my family to open presents and be together Christmas morning and then going to work at night. But hey, that still sounds pretty nice to me.
Your Christmas may not look picture perfect either. Maybe you’re going to be away from family like I am. Maybe you couldn’t afford the Christmas you really wanted this year because things have been a little tight. Maybe you just lost someone you used to have Christmas traditions with and now those memories are painful.
Maybe your Christmas isn’t picture perfect. It doesn’t have to be.
Enjoy your Christmas in a way that makes the most sense to you and brings you true comfort and joy. Enjoy the hope, the laughter, the cheer, and the spirit.
So go out and have the happiest of holidays, Christmas tree and fancy lights, not necessarily required.