Christmas means so many things to so many different people but for me it’s about remembering the reason we celebrate Christmas at all. It’s about re-enacting the story of a Father (God) who gave the best gift he could (his son Jesus) to everyone he really cared about (everyone) so that they could experience the excitement and extravagance of receiving a gift for no other reason than they were loved unconditionally.
For me, Christmas means giving gifts to people I know and love and to people I’ve never met, through charities close to my heart. Not because it’s expected or I feel obliged to but because I genuinely want someone to know that they are special, valued and cared about whether I know them or not.
Of course, gifts are only a small way of doing this on one day of the year, and that’s why I reckon the original ‘Father’ had already sussed out that we all need the ongoing love of someone, more than we need things.
In just a few days I will no doubt laugh and cry my way through my granddaughters first nursery nativity, very aware that it seems only a year or two since I invited my mum to watch my own children’s nativity play! It’s called the circle of life, marked clearly as we see the old year out and the new one in, and made all the more poignant for me this year as I sat in the registry office to register my father’s death, with new born babies around me. So much sadness and happiness in the same place, the end of some hopes and dreams and the beginning of others. Of course, none of us can every fully know what a new year will bring, both good and not so great, so I reckon it’s best to enjoy what we have and who is around us now, even if it isn’t perfect.
This Christmas day I’m looking forward to being with the family and watching three very excited three year olds ripping the paper off the presents that have been carefully chosen with them in mind but what I genuinely hope for most of all, in what seems to me a slightly crazy unstable world, is that they will be absolutely assured of the unconditional love for them behind those temporary gifts.
I would like to leave you with a couple of thoughts from an old timer who, in the past, has been guilty of trying to meticulously plan the events of Christmas day to make it ‘perfect’ for everyone…
- first of all figure out what yours/others expectations are and how realistic they really are, then ask everyone to be willing to adapt them if necessary, yourself included
- be honest about whether some family traditions are now more of a torture for everyone
- try to keep things simple, that way you will be more relaxed and enjoy the day
- most important of all… be in the moment with your children and loved ones
Oh… and have a dark room where you can hide away for just a few minutes
Nanny J x