Monday, 8 November 2010
Sadly I noted today that some people are truly dreading Christmas this year, some because of the current financial climate and some because they are always the ones who create the Happy Christmas that everyone else enjoys whilst they are melting in the kitchen mopping their fevered brow with a dishcloth.
Most of the people dreading the financial impact of Christmas are worried about being unable to give their children nice Christmas presents, something that all parents want to do because children are too young to know that they shouldn't prize presents over people. All they know is that Santa is coming and he should have presents with him, just like he has for their friends.
They are too young to rationalise and parents cannot provide, it's a very hurtful situation for loving parents who know that possessions aren't the be-all and end-all, but also know that Santa should be able to deliver a Christmas morning full of joy and excitement. Most kids will land up focusing on one favourite gift or playing with the boxes, they're not monetary - they don't know what that means - they're after the experience of being a child, believing in Santa and loving Christmas.
I don't know how those parents are going to explain to their kids, and my heart goes out to them. Especially if they're going to be forced to take children from the innocent joy of childhood where money doesn't equate and forcibly quantum leap them to a place of worry and responsibility. Where their much longed for doll or truck stops being a fun toy that helps to develop creativity and dreams and instead becomes a 'thing', a 'possession' - something that people who don't love enough want.
How can you explain financial burdens without breaking little hearts or catapulting them into adulthood and worry? You certainly can't say "if I was dead you'd miss me more than the presents". You can't tell them why people are so much more important than stuff.
I don't know if it helps, but my parents used to help me make a list and then tell me to pick my favourites, they also set a budget for me. That way I was expecting a favourite gift but also not expecting too much. That seems to have worked. We also used to go to the local childrens' home before Christmas and give some of last years' toys away, which taught me (without a lecture) that there were people a lot worse off than me. Perhaps the local charity shop will suffice if you don't live near a childrens' home.
As to the overburdened mums and grandmas. If you don't teach your family to share then you create a burden for the next generation. So why don't you say that although you will host Christmas you will need help. Someone should bring the starters already made and ready to heat,and someone else should bring the desert ready to go in the oven.
If you have a big family you have loads of people to bring the other goodies like chocolate, cake, mince pies, chocolate, sausage rolls and of course chocolate (or have I already mentioned that?).
The children can come and decorate the tree and throw tinsel all round the house, they'll love that! And you can always put the tree right later (and take the tinsel off the dog).
People love to share, and they love to be useful, and sharing and being useful gives people a sense of self worth. If you insist on doing everything then they will never know how it feels to be rewarded with smiles after a job well done. They won't know how it feels to know that mum has had a better day because they contributed. They won't see your sigh of relief when they deliver their starter or pud to the table, and they won't receive the thanks that will make them feel appreciated. What they will do is see the future - and fear it!
So instead of knocking yourself sideways because you love them, allow them to share with you in the wonderfully loving and sharing experience that Christmas can be, and when you feel tired remember all the people who would love to be part of a big, manic, busy, loving Christmas just like yours.
Wishing you a happy festive season and far less stress and worry leading up to it.
Happy days and Blissful Nights
Deb (Dancing Star) Hawken
"One must have chaos in oneself in order to give birth to a dancing star" Nietzsche