How to make Christmas meaningful for you

Abigail Tamsi Articles

It came without ribbons.
It came without tags.
It came without packages, boxes, or bags.
Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store.
Maybe Christmas means a little bit more.

~ Unknown

As I walked into a building in the city this morning, I was greeted by a giant Christmas tree… and its only the 2nd week of November!

This building is definitely unlike most of what I see of Melbourne when Christmas decorations don’t come up until the 1st of December. So it was a bit of an unwelcome nudge to me, as if someone just pushed me into a conversation I wasn’t ready to be in.

Sooner or later, the idea of Christmas does have to be dealt with since its only 42 days and counting when it rolls around.

I’m curious… do you welcome Christmas like a long lost friend? Or would you rather that it stay lost?

These days, Christmas has become more of a consumerist nightmare and a capitalist’s dream. Plus the plethora of mandatory family and social gatherings.

And all for what?

Why do you do what you during Christmas? What does it mean to you?

I grew up in a Catholic family in the Philippines so I learned of Christmas as the birth of Jesus Christ, known in the Catholic religion as the “saviour of humanity”. It then made sense to celebrate the birth of a very important figure in human history.

But having come from very big families from both my mum’s and dad’s sides, Christmas (and the New Year festivities that followed) came to represent big and fun celebrations. After all, those would be when I get to see so many of my cousins in one place and we get to eat and play through the night (since we celebrate Christmas Eve)! Every child’s wild dream, right?!

And these big celebrations didn’t stop when we moved here to Melbourne. We probably weren’t celebrating with blood relatives as much anymore but we still managed to get together with plenty of Filipino migrant families.

But when I divorced a couple of years back, all of these were yanked out like a rug from underneath me. From celebrating it with with about 30 other people, I went to celebrating it with just my 2 daughters.

Such a big change, I know! So it really pushed me to re-evaluate what Christmas means to me. (And yes, I also had to re-evaluate my own values and subsequently moved to being spiritual than religious.)

So, how do you make Christmas meaningful for you?

First, understand the origins of Christmas beyond what you’ve been conditioned it is.

Before Christianity came along and before December 25 was called Christmas, the pagans celebrated it due to the “return of the sun” because it was the time after the yearly Winter Solstice (since Winter Solstice, in the northern hemisphere, is the shortest day of the year).

On a spiritual sense, it represents enlightenment or a figurative birth of the soul after having gone through the dark.

Now, doesn’t that make more sense? A celebration and a remembrance of our soul’s infinite potential is, I feel, what brings true hope and meaning.

So in my case, when Christmas started to mean that I’d be on my own on Christmas day (because I would have my daughters on Christmas Eve), it became ok for me when I looked at it from this perspective. In the end, it became a celebration of ME! Almost just like my birthday. 😉

Second, what about Christmas that you love?

We remember events in our lives based on our internal experience. We go towards and do more of what feels pleasant. So, if there are aspects of Christmas that you love, you tend to welcome it’s coming around every year.

However many or however few there may be in your list of what you love about Christmas, I invite you treasure that.

The most important part of Christmas for me is Christmas Eve when we sit down for a very late dinner, be grateful for being with family and then showing heartfelt joy for any and all gifts as given and received at the strike of midnight. As long as I have this, I’m all good!

Third, what about Christmas that you hate?

I write this because I’m aware that not everyone has family and/or friends to celebrate with during Christmas time. Not everyone can buy gifts for their loved ones. Some might even be working on Christmas day. Some cannot even celebrate it at all.

Or that Christmas could bring unpleasant memories for you. Or that you don’t like whatever your social circle imposes on you during this time of the year.

Whatever it may be, it’s good to become aware of it so you don’t let it overrun your Christmas spirit.

How to have a wonderful Christmas

1. Make Christmas meaningful for you

Once you’ve determined what would really make Christmas meaningful for you, put that as your priority to happen. Make sure that its the one thing that will definitely happen. Everything else that’s not part of it will simply have to come second.

2. Know that not everyone’s “Love Language” is receiving gifts

Although Christmas is synonymous to gift-giving, become aware that not everyone feels absolutely loved when they receive gifts.

Gary Chapman first introduced the concept of “Love Language” through his book, “The 5 Love Languages, The Secret to Love that Lasts.” You can find more about here.

To give you an idea, a love language is the way that someone predominantly feels loved. These 5 love languages consist of:

  1. Words of affirmation
  2. Acts of Service
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Physical Touch
  5. Quality Time

So you can guess that my main love language is “Quality Time” because I love nothing more than having a wonderful sit-down dinner with my loved ones on Christmas Eve (and any day for that matter!) .

3. Ask for support if you need it

If Christmas brings up unpleasant memories for you and its something that you wish to move on from, I invite you to find the support that resonates with you.

Or if you wish that you celebrated with more people (especially if you’re a new migrant in a new city), throw a “love line” to your peers and check out Meetups that may be happening around.

You have to start looking to find them. You might be surprised what comes up.

~~~

I hope this blog has been helpful come this time of the year. Below sums up what I’ve written above and my Christmas message to you, too.

Have a blessed Christmas,
Abigail xx

Come Christmas time… please re-read this message.

Let your Soul shine forth.

In the midst of all the joys, the pains, the trials, the busy-ness, the drama and anything else that life throws at you… is You. You, the one who is here, the one who wakes up every morning, the one given the chance to live a life of your own choosing and you are also the one who chose to be born forth in your human body (whether you realise it yet or not).

It’s what the Christmas tradition has been putting forth for 2,019 years now. There is “Christ”-consciousness in each one of us.

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