I love this time of year but also find it extremely stressful. To the point where every single year, I fantasize about leaving Dec. 1st for Bora Bora, or somewhere even further away, and not coming back until January.
(Of course, I’d bring everyone back a seashell ankle bracelet they’d never wear as my special belated Christmas gift.)
Why is it so stressful? Partly because it’s such a busy time. Busyness causes me stress. Also, FOMO (“fear of missing out”) gets morphed into FOLSO (“fear of leaving someone out”). Either by not having a gift for someone, or not choosing the right gift, or forgetting to call someone I meant to call.
SO many worries when it’s supposed to be a time of peace and kindness and joy. That pressure to be peaceful and kind and joyful also causes me stress, however.
At this point you may be questioning my claim above that I love this time of year.
I do though. When I do make the effort to remember what this season is all about — love — then my heart does fill with that warm, loving feeling for others.
Every December, our office “adopts” a few local families in need and we collectively find gifts for them. Initially, it always feels like “ugh, one extra thing I have to worry about when I’m already SO busy” … but then something magic happens.
I forget how busy and stressed I am and start thinking about what will make little five-year-old Adunola smile when she sees her new bike.
How will mom, Twaiwo, feel when she sees her three kids try out the new toboggan that I lugged to work and had a hilarious time wrapping.
Last night, I dropped by a No Frills grocery store to pick up a gift card for one of the families with some of the donations we collected around the office.
While I was waiting in line, a mother and son had their gift card declined. There was no money left on it, the cashier told them.
They desperately pleaded to see the manager because apparently they’d used the card in the store the day before and thought the cashier must’ve given them back the wrong card.
The manager was really sympathetic with them and tried to sort everything out for them but I still couldn’t help but think, “There but for the grace of God go I.” A simple twist of fate and that could be me. Or it could be me depending on the kindness of strangers to put smiles on my family’s faces on Christmas morning.
I guess that’s why I love this time of year. It reminds me that we are all in this together. It’s not about what we have or have not, but how we treat and care for one another. That we put as much love into the world as we can.
One of my favourite lines in this Christmas carol is “when love came down to the Earth” … that’s how Christmas feels to me… taking that love and sharing it.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!