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Why and What do you Celebrate?

December 22nd, 2007 · 5 Comments

Why do you celebrate Christmas? What do you celebrate at Christmas?

With my life pared back to bare bones during our renovation and narry a bauble in sight, let alone a tree or piles of beautifully wrapped gifts, I find those two questions popping into my mind.

When you take away the tree, when you take away the baking, shopping, wrapping, decorating frenzy, what is left?

A couple of years ago I sprained my ankle badly in the lead up to Christmas and thought I found out then what was important. Being laid up certainly made me aware of my priorities and to let go of the irrelevant or ‘busy’ work. But I realise now that was just a first step.

I have always been a bit of a Christmas perfectionist. Alright, alright – I can hear my family’s voices of protest already – I was a LOT of a Christmas perfectionist. I loved to have everything ‘just so’. Beautiful tree. Beautifully decorated, clean and tidy home. Delicious meal. Candles, inspirational music. Perfect gifts for everyone, wrapped within an inch of their lives. You get the picture. And it was difficult for me to let anyone else help me with the acheivement of the perfect Christmas.

Holding Christmas in the palm of my hand…

And I realise now that in my quest for perfectionism I lost sight of the most important thing.

Those I love. The very people I thought I was doing it for.

Funny how we delude ourself in our quest for perfection.

This year there is no room for perfectionism. Traditions are out the window. Not just changed or renegotiated.

And I am feeling an immense sense of freedom, of liberation from expectations and requirements.

It is like the changes I see in my home. As the coats of paint go on, covering the previously bright, multi-coloured walls with a beautiful, calming, peaceful shade called Handmade Linen (don’t you love that name?) right through the house, I am feeling a new lease on life. An injection of simplicity, of calmness. A feel of opportunity and possibility. I know these changes herald a change of pace, a reinvention of my life.

And like the possibilities in my life, I am seeing possibilities in the celebration of Christmas simply this year. One of focussing on the people, and not on the trimings.

A Clearing Space Moment

In the madness that is the final couple of days before Christmas, can you stop for a minute and think about how you’d actually like Christmas to be, if there were no expectations at all.

I like to imagine a keyword, something that represents a feeling or state of mind. Something like ‘simplicity’, or ‘love’, or ‘family’, or ‘fun’…

What is your keyword for how you’d actually like to be and feel? How will those you love feel about that?

Tags: Getting Still · Heart and Home · Noticing Miracles · Reinvention

5 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Leah Maclean // Dec 22, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    Wonderful post Karen – my matra for this Christmas seems to follow what youare are saying here “it is more about being present than getting presents”.

    Enjoy whatever flavour Christmas brings you this year.

  • 2 Angela // Dec 23, 2007 at 10:02 am

    Family. For me, this year’s festivities are considerably different to previous years. But the thing that remains the same is that we want to be close to family. So what if the meal is not perfect, or even on the “correct” day? As long as it is shared with my family, I’ll be happy.
    Thanks Karen, for your always thought-provoking posts. And Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  • 3 Pete Aldin // Dec 23, 2007 at 7:23 pm


    The original motto for Christmas was “peace on earth as it is in heaven.” I’m reclaiming the peace motif this year.

    Merry Christmas Karen!

  • 4 Anne Maybus // Dec 28, 2007 at 5:36 am

    We celebrate family. This year we had all my immediate family as well as some of their in-laws and my in-laws too. Our table just keeps on extending itself to include more people. It was crowded and noisy, with children and food everywhere. We loved it! The day was wonderful, funny and involving. None of us would change a thing. It doesn’t matter when or where we celebrate as long as we keep together.

  • 5 Steve Sherlock // Jan 1, 2008 at 6:59 am

    Karen, in this time around the holidays I schedule vacation as both my daughters and my wife’s school calendars give them time to be home. Being together in a somewhat busy (going here for this side of the family, going there for that, traveling to be with friends) time is most important. We try not to be rushed but purposeful. Here on New Year’s Eve, the time to return to work is almost upon us, yet we are ready, rested, and refreshed to being the new year.

    May 2008 be a most happy and prosperous new year!

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