The Christmas Spirit

 In Weekly Forum Discussion, Writer in Residence

I love Father Christmas. He spreads “The Christmas Spirit.” As a child I was full of the Christmas Spirit. I loved everything about the holiday: Christmas decorations, cookies, presents, music and spending time with my family.

Christmas was not complete without a visit to the “Crescent Window.” It was tradition. Our family would go to the department store and enjoy viewing the window displays. The window moved with musical dancing displays from ballerinas performing the nutcracker to woodland creatures preparing for winter. It was magic.

Christmas changed for me when my grandfather passed away. Christmas was his favorite holiday. He loved to give to his family, friends and the homeless. He taught me about charity. He collected his blankets all year to give to the homeless once the temperature began to drop.

It was a difficult time for me. I lost my grandfather, but was blessed with still having my great grandfather. It made me realize how holidays can be difficult, because it is when I really feel the loss. I make the holidays a time to remember and appreciate those that are no longer with me in flesh. They are here in spirit. This brings joy to my heart.

It can be difficult to keep the Christmas Spirit when you are poor. I couldn’t afford taking my children to a musical performance, plays, or movies. I couldn’t afford expensive presents or decorations.

My children and I would make homemade gifts. This became our family tradition. Sitting here today missing my adult children those homemade gifts mean more to me than any diamond ring or new car. Those gifts I still have and cherish. They are filled with memories, hope and enduring love. I am now thankful we were poor. I would have missed out on so much joy.

Today my daughter still makes her gifts. I look forward to each and every one.

The Christmas season can create dark energy. I tell myself every year I will plan ahead, but each year I get hit with the dark energy and anxiety.

1st-The pressure of baking, buying, scheduling, mailing Christmas cards, planning Christmas parties and decorating can overwhelm me. I often feel like I am being pulled in several different directions. My “to do list” keeps growing with each passing day. Christmas has become too commercialized. This is supposed to be a peaceful time. Where is the peace?

2nd- The arguments over trivial things – decorating, buying gifts, parking spaces, scheduling time to see everyone – makes my chest hurt. Panic sets in. I can’t breathe and there it is, my yearly anxiety attack.

3rd- The people who pass judgment on the way people do things, I stay out of it, but I can hear the gossip ringing in my ears. It is so difficult to bite my tongue.

I reach my breaking point. I am upset. I just want people to be happy.

I have to leave. I go to a place of tranquility and music. I sit there in silence and absorb the music. It flows into my soul. I let the tears stream down my cheeks. I am okay. I am happy. I feel peace, love, calm, happiness. I feel the spirit of the season. I am reset.

Written by: Collette Cottingham; Guardian Angels

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