Yes, the festive season is upon us! Somehow, we have arrived at the ‘most wonderful time of the year’ already. With four weeks until Christmas it would usually be time to dust off your decorations, find your tree stand, and start the task of shopping for your loved ones. And while for many of us this stands true, the gravity of 2020 means for a lot of families this Christmas will be more challenging than they could have predicted.
Covid19 has impacted every aspect of our lives this year, and the festive season is no different. With many anxiously waiting to hear whether borders will reopen so they can be reunited with their families, and countless others coming to terms with the loss of a loved one – Christmas this year may be more stressful than ever before.
With so much uncertainty still hanging over us, this is the perfect time to reflect on the true meaning behind Christmas and how we can ensure this period provides comfort, support and enjoyment to those around us, and to ourselves.
In Christian tradition, the meaning of Christmas is the celebration of our saviour Jesus Christ. Whether you adopt this belief or not, the fundamental meaning rings true: Christmas is a celebration of life. Of people, of our community – be it family, friends, neighbours. And this year, more than ever, we need to be embracing our lives and the health of those we hold dear. We can get so swept up in commercial ploys that we forget this basic fact: Christmas is about celebrating with those arounds us – whomever they may be. Friends, family, lovers. Neighbours, colleagues, or fellow gym-goers. Your Tribe doesn’t have to be blood-related – it represents whoever brings you joy and comfort, particularly during this family-oriented, celebratory time of year.
And yes - presents are often a big part of this celebration. However, recent polls (and life experience!) have shown many of us receive presents at Christmas we do not want, and that it’s actually the act of giving to others that fills us with joy – not receiving.
It’s about making others’ day.
Media outlets will try to convince you ‘giving to others’ means buying expensive, entirely frivolous gifts. As such, there can be a lot of pressure to find the perfect presents, and countless hours may be wasted in malls and shopping centres, seeking items we hope will make our loved ones smile.
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to treat our friends and family, we shouldn’t have to sacrifice our serenity (or our paycheques) to achieve this. And giving to others is about so much more than material items. Giving our time is what really matters. Making memories and enjoying the celebrations with the people we care about, and who care for us – even if it’s done from a distance this year. Instead of spending hours scouring malls for the ever-elusive ‘perfect gift’, use this time for Skype and Facetime dates with your friends and family, or to build new memories with those in your immediate vicinity. It’s these interactions that will ultimately mean more to both you and them in the long run.
And when it does come to selecting gifts, hack your Christmas shopping by seeking presents that will be practical and bring joy. Instead of loading up on cute and ultimately irrelevant items (look, we all love a nice candle, but come on), invest in items that will be used regularly – and that stand out in a crowd.
Time-saving options are also key. Look for ready-made gift packs and stores that offer free wrapping and delivery, so you can spend less time shopping and more time enjoying the festivities – which is what this time is really about.
So, go on - get into the holiday spirit and embrace this festive season by lining up a good ol cheesy Christmas movie, visiting neighbourhoods decked in Christmas lights, blasting that Michael Buble Christmas soundtrack and spending time with the people who make you smile.
Perhaps this year will mean you’re unable to celebrate in-person with your family, but that doesn’t have to mean Christmas isn’t just as special as ever.
For those of you feeling stranded for Christmas Day, speak up now and band together with friends, colleagues or neighbours! Make it a pot-luck situation, and each bring along your favourite Christmas dish (perhaps something traditional from your own family’s Christmas), put on a festive playlist, and cheers to making it through 2020 with your health – because that truly is worth celebrating this year.
Festive tip; if you’re stuck on present ideas, nail your Christmas shopping with a Carra Lee Christmas Gift Pack. With four specially curated options to choose from, as well as a festive Gift Card, there’s something stunning for every important woman in your life.