I used to love wrapping. I’d spent hours cutting and then blending multiple patterns of Christmas paper onto the one gift. Presents would be garnished with velvet ribbon, embossed with Christmas stories and edged with golden glitter. It would be all over my fingers, in my hair and I’d wake with the sparkle still on my cheeks. It made me smile.
But it was almost midnight and I wasn’t even a quarter of the way through wrapping gifts for friends, family and assisting Santa in his purchase outsourcing. I was trying to get as many gifts wrapped as possible before we had to travel to Melbourne. And I still had suitcases to pack, washing to do, a house to tidy and bills to pay. I’d had sick children and just finished full-time work and part-time study for the year. I’d been to the kinder and childcare end of year breakups and concerts, attended many December birthdays and was approaching Christmas physically and emotionally depleted. And I know I’m one of many.
And, yep I’m going to say it. Even though children make Christmas an absolute joyous blessing, they also add a layer of complication to family relationships you could never imagine before becoming a parent. Children seem to add fuel to simmering resentments, unspoken expectations and embittered histories. It can lead to character building but emotionally damaging times. I’d had those too.
All of this can completely set back the spirit of Christmas. And I hate feeling this way. I know this isn’t what Christmas should be about. And this isn’t how I used to feel.
Then I got a Christmas card from Fluffy in the mail.
That small, traditional gesture with its beautiful message said everything I needed to hear during a time of incredible self doubt. And it turned my Christmas setback into a comeback.
I was reminded what I had to be grateful for, of the importance of celebrating with those who truly value and appreciate you. All of you – for exactly who you are…and to appreciate that rare and beautiful thing called love. I remembered to appreciate that there were clothes on my family’s back. For knowing I will have table full of Christmas food. Secure in the knowledge that we will have electricity to keep the lights flashing on the tree and run the cooling to fight off the heat of the Aussie Summer. And when I’m thirsty, I’ll literally have clean water on tap. There aren’t too many families world wide who can say they’ll have all that this Christmas.
I am grateful for the family and friends I still have. As is to be expected, every year I lose more people who are dear to me. But I’ve got family and friends who have fought and won… or at least are still here fighting… against some terrible circumstances and illnesses, both physical and psychological. And to them I say – thank you… my life is richer for having you in it.
When you have your Christmas setback this year, and you will, there is a simple way to try to turn it into a comeback. Focus on the names of those dear to you who automatically bring a smile to your face. Or call on a memory which makes you feel warm and golden. Recalling a special person or memory will help you feel grateful.
And when it all seems to become just too much this Christmas – pause. Count to 10. Breathe. Let it go and pour yourself a glass of champagne. And remember to be grateful for the purest of gifts you have-your life and those you love.
And I hope that way you’ll turn your Christmas into a comeback too.
Have a Merry and safe Christmas.