During this time of year, many people become stressed out, busy, depressed and become a bit cranky. Around the Christmas season, people seem to be the busiest, as they are running around shopping for Christmas gifts, planning their vacations, planning holiday parties, getting their hair done, shopping for new outfits and the list goes on and on. Over the years Christmas has become very materialized. It has been associated with gift giving and constant spending money. Many people become so consumed with the "expectations" of the holidays, the expectations to buy gifts, and the expectations to see people they don't want to see. All these demands and expectations that we put on ourselves and that society says we need to do, places a lot of stress on our bodies and takes out the joy of the holidays. There is nothing wrong with buying gifts for others, in fact, I enjoy that myself. However, when there is an expectation attached to giving, the act of giving loses its meaning. Giving means WANTING to give, as appose to feeling like you HAVE TO give.
So what does Christmas mean? The meaning of Christmas day is associated with the Christian belief that Jesus was born on this day and that Christmas is the celebration of his birth and arrival. Many people celebrate Christmas for various reasons and put their own meaning to it. Many people see Christmas as a time to celebrate the gathering of family and friends or a time to give to others who don't have much. Some people also see it as a time of sadness. If this is a time for celebration and giving, then how did we become so consumed with spending so much money and placing all these expectations on ourselves? We are to busy completing our to do list, that we forget why we are even celebrating the holidays. It is important to not lose sight of why we celebrate the holidays. What really is important here is our actions around this time of year and how open our heart is. Someone can spend hundreds of dollars on gifts for people that they are not fond of. Someone can be a strong believer of the Religious meaning of Christmas and go to Church, but continue to act in ways that are not compassionate, loving, inauthentic and critical of others. Do things you WANT to do, not because you feel you HAVE TO.
The only expectations there are, are the ones we set for ourselves. There is no "proper way" to celebrate the holidays. Spend it any way that you choose. There are no "rules" on how to spend Christmas. Anything that you do, if it is done from a place that is aligned with your values and beliefs, then that is all that counts. So if you do not want to give people gifts because you're on a budget, then DON'T. If you want to spend the holidays alone and have some time for yourself because that is what you need, then DO IT. There is no right or wrong way to spend the holidays. If you don't want to celebrate the holidays at all, then DON'T. There is no need to run around making a TO DO list that creates so much stress. As long as you spend the holidays with a relaxed body, an open heart and gratitude, then that is time well spent.