I would like to wish everyone a safe, happy and relaxing Christmas and at the same time send a heartfelt message to those of us who are anticipating a less than traditional holiday time.
I know that that most of us are likely to share the day with family or friends and indeed, I sincerely hope that each and every one of us will enjoy the day in the company of loved ones.
However, from the perspective of an ‘older person’, I want to say that cultural and societal expectations (firmly reinforced by every aspect of a media serving to drive sales and spending), can and does put enormous pressure on those of us not having the designated ‘normal and traditional’ Christmas experience.
I guess what I am trying to say is this; a lot of people find Christmas lonesome, stressful and isolating. Some of us will spend the day on our own. Some of us will spend the day remembering loved ones who’ve passed. Those of us with young children and extended families are likely to be so busy that the end of the day will be greeted with a sigh of relief and happy exhaustion. Some of us will be on foreign soil and some of us on home turf.
The Christmas experience is as varied and nuanced as humans are. We forget that it is ok to be happy with whatever Christmas looks like. I learned that whatever circumstances you might find yourself in on Christmas day, just doing your best is more than ok.
I also learned that if you are alone, and not necessarily by choice, there are many ways to have a wonderful and meaningful Christmas day. I know that it isn’t easy being up against our own expectations of how our life should look at this time. However – if you consciously choose not to measure your day against the stereotypical and give yourself the freedom to create a Christmas day that resonates just for you, it’s surprising just how enjoyable the day can be.
Viewed from the best possible perspective – being alone on Christmas Day frees’ you up to plan and do exactly what you best enjoy. If it is the company of others you most desire then there a multitude of ways to connect.
As circumstances would have it, for many years I lived far from family, so in place of the ‘traditional family’ event, we would celebrate an annual ‘Orphans Christmas’, where all of us who were single and without family would celebrate the festivities together.
If it isn’t possible to spend the day with company then you are free to absolutely indulge yourself with whatever makes your soul sing or makes your day a nurturing one.
The heat over Christmas in the southern hemisphere is legendary. An early morning swim in the sea is a magical start to Christmas morning. You’d be surprised at the number of people you’ll find at the beach enjoying a walk or swim and witnessing the sunrise. Connecting with nature is deeply comforting when feeling lonesome.
Volunteering to serve Christmas lunch at your neighbourhood homeless shelter or a local charity is hugely satisfying in both the giving and receiving, where the essence of the Christmas spirit; compassion, grace, joy and sharing is manifest where most needed.
You can spend the day watching your favourite movies and eating whatsoever takes your fancy. I have a couple of friends who are just one of nine and ten siblings respectively, who slightly dread the day because of the chaos, noise and the inevitable family squabble that results in one or another family member with their ‘nose out of joint’. I know for a fact that they often long for a quiet Christmas, without drama. It is good to remember that we humans are prone to falling into the ‘grass is greener’ dilemma, especially if we find ourselves on our own during Christmas.
Whatever you have planned and whatever the circumstances you find yourself in over Christmas, remember, you are loved and appreciated. You are a ‘child of the universe’ and your existence is as important as the sun, the stars and the moon. You don’t need to understand how or why this is so. Just know and understand your place in the architecture of the universe is meant to be and thus vitally important.
Whatever you do, I hope that you find the path to peace and harmony and I wish you all good things with all the love in my heart. It would be fabulous if all of you singles out there posted comments about how you’re going to spend the day to connect with and even inspire others who read this.
Wishing you a truly blessed Christmas,