We say it annually: “This year, let’s don’t over do Christmas.” It’s hard each year not to get carried away with shopping, giving, stressing over lists, recipes and decorating.
As a child, Christmas was magical. We were a big family of five children being raised by a single mom. We struggled, but we made it. Somehow Christmas always seemed to produce a miracle. Each year was better than the last, and we never quite understood how. While the budget numbers did not add up, the presents did. Every year! We could wrap anything and call it a gift and we were overjoyed with each one.
The old movie “The Ghosts of Christmas’s Past” takes the main character back through painful memories of years gone by. The moral of the story is to make good decisions, take nothing for granted, and remember that you can’t go back and undo what has been done.
My memories are different from yours, but are just as important. To make the most of Christmas’s past, look back long enough to learn how to make the most of Christmas present.
Looking back- Cherish the good memories, and forgive the bad ones. We all had imperfect families, and the way to overcome past obstacles is to recreate new memories. Don’t focus on what you don’t have, or what you didn’t do, there is time for that when you start the new year and establish goals.
Looking out- What matters to you? Who matters the most to you? Answer by analyzing how you spend your time. Don’t say what is important, do what is important. Christmas is a perfect time to carve out special times for special memories. Don’t get so caught up in busyness that you can’t linger in spontaneous moments with others. Sometimes unhurried conversation is precisely what those closest to you would wish for.
Looking forward- Over do Christmas, by all means, but not with lists. Quiet evenings by a fire. Decorating the tree. Silly gift exchanges at work where others can laugh and have a good time deepening relationships. Relax! If you are too busy to enjoy other people, you are too busy!
What most people desperately want, regardless of age, is a strong sense of significance. To be valued and heard. To be appreciated for who they are and what they do. To come home to a place where they feel comfortable being themselves. To work in a place where others value their work and contribution.
Giving and receiving gifts is exciting. Seeing the faces of children light up on Christmas morning is priceless. Eating too much, well its a great reason to feast. Just don’t overlook meaningful moments that last forever. When is the last time you just had fun? Let go, lighten up, and laugh a little. If your family and co-workers are like mine, there’s plenty of funny to go around.
Give more by shopping less. Making the Most of Christmas Past means making the most of what you have today.