Christmas is a time of year that many cannot ignore. There are a few religions that do not celebrate the holiday but I would argue that the holiday itself is no longer an entirely religious holiday. It is taught that it is a holiday centred on the birth of Christ. But if we are speaking of origins, the Pagans were among the first to celebrate the Winter Solstice as the rebirth of the sun.
My intent is not to dispute anyone’s beliefs but to emphasize that this is a holiday that has many meanings to people. There are many who celebrate the rebirth of the sun instead of the birth of Christ. There are many who celebrate neither. For many it is a holiday about family and friends. A time to reconnect with those who are important to you and to make the time to just be with them. There is an exchange of gifts with some, though I am sure not all. These are intended to show appreciation for that person. Christmas can become overwhelming and it can be easy to fall into the commercial idea of the holiday. However, it is important to remember that the intent of the gift is the meaning and thought behind it, not the money spent.
It is a time of year to be tolerant. To understand that everyone is going to celebrate in their own way and to be mindful that just because their way isn’t yours doesn’t mean it is less important. It is easy in society today to condemn those around us. To challenge their beliefs and throw yours out as being superior. I urge everyone this year to reconsider?to ask yourself, how does their believing effect you?
Last Christmas we did not put up a tree. We spent the holiday at the lake and, because of that, opted to leave everything packed away. It was nice in a way, to not have to decorate and then put everything back together after the holidays. But this year we broke them out and set them up. It is a way to remind ourselves of what is important at this time of year. It was more for the time we spent together decorating and chatting, distracted by nothing else, than the decorations themselves. It was a blissful reminder of what is important, the quiet moments, the loud moments, but just the moments when we find our way back to each other, to ourselves.
It seems odd to talk about finding yourself over the holidays when it is often a stress-filled time of the year. With dinners to cook, gifts to buy (and wrap), commitments to make, and schedules to keep. But I have found my way back to enjoying the holidays (rather then merely surviving) by remembering these things. The important things. This holiday season I urge you to remember what matters the most, to take pleasure in the quiet moments and not lose yourself to the commercialism of it all. Take pride in finding the perfect gift that you just know someone will love and hold on to that, rather than wondering if you have spent the same amount on them as they on you.
We create stress for ourselves during these holidays, and it is time to take them back. Take them for what they were mean to be. Find your way back to your family, your friends, and yourself, and take pleasure in the time away from school and work?the hamster wheel?and recharge.
Deanna Roney is an AU graduate who loves adventure in life and literature.