This year was a very different kind of Christmas. I am noticing what is going on around me, and there is a growing group of people just not tolerating in their view gluttonous behaviors that are particularly abound during the holidays, while so many are in crisis. People are fed up, and quite a few are protesting doctrine, politics and consumerism. Meanwhile I have kids who have celebrated and again were looking forward to celebrate Christmas and New Years. For a while I settled into not knowing exactly how we were going to celebrate Christmas, though with a feeling to do it simply and intimately, with just my husband, Joe, and the kids. No tree this year. We do have a string of lights we use year round to light up our living room with. Many of the plants in the stores looked fake this year. It was too cold to venture out to find some wild holly variety and some evergreens. I found a lovely little plant with mixed miniature roses (white and red) to serve as table decoration. As in every season, I spent time donating and volunteering for various charities at the local school and at a nearby university, providing energy therapy sessions.
Personally I have always enjoyed the Winter Solstice energies, viewed Christmas as a time of peace, deep peace. A time to focus on the inner light, as the life force is at the bone (soul) level, and just enjoy a sanctuary of silence. Then come New Year’s I always had the excitement of renewal, and celebrating it with family and friends. Eventually I did wake up to the fact that this peace is always and ever present, by seeing an image of a yogi who sat in meditation in the middle of Times Square in Manhattan. Traffic, people and city noises galore. He radiated complete and absolute peace. That set the bar for me to try it on in the most unusual of situations. A fake it till you make it kind of deal. Soon I was able to meditate while wandering streets anywhere. It worked! During a trip to the Netherlands I was waiting outside a bank while my sister went about her business there. Right smack in the middle of Amsterdam. Lots of people, cars and bicycles. I found a maple shaped leaf, caught it on its way down. Not quite sure from where exactly. No North American maple trees around anywhere in Europe, and yet, there it was. Another sign that I was on purpose in terms of residence for now, and that indeed I was a multi dimensional being. I resonate with peace every day. So you could say I now enjoy the “Christmas” feeling every day. This doesn’t mean I am always in touch with it, though I am most of the time.
This time we spent the holidays very simply, just among ourselves. The kids agreed to do our gift exchange the weekend after Christmas, as our oldest one, Yannick (19), could only visit then, and not on the actual holiday. Benji (7) did complain about his brother Max (12), trying to convince him Santa didn’t exist, and that in fact, the parents buy the presents. Quite interesting as I remember Max being beside himself about his parents selling him a lie about Santa Claus, taking it very seriously as the worst betrayal ever. We didn’t handle that one very smoothly at the time.
“Do you really want to know the truth about Santa?”
“Well you know how Santa has a big fat belly?”
“Okay, so you really want to know the real deal”.
“Okay. Most everything you’ve been told about Santa is a big fat lie”.
Of course I was there for him and with him during that melt down. I took complete responsibility for my part in that, as a member of a society where grown ups do take on lies and feed them to their kids also. When Max calmed down after a tirade and then crying it out with me, he came up with the idea that he would never ever have to give up on the spirit of Santa Claus, and the magic of sharing gifts. In answer to Benji’s complaint, I reminded Max and Benji of that fact, which put an end to the politics of separation that was at play between them.
So Benji grew up experiencing the spirit of Santa Claus as an aspect of each one, and that we all have gifts to share. Of course he does go to public school, so he does encounter mixed messages about Santa. He announced he was going to write a list of things he would like from Santa. “Dear Santa, I wonder how you are. I would like two things for Christmas. A Spider-Man toy and an Iron Man toy. And we would like to wait a few days for Christmas so we can spend it with Yannick. Thank you. Love, Benji”
You never know what kind of wishes he comes up with. For his seventh birthday he wanted an in ground swimming pool (we used to have access to two of these kinds of pools on the property where we lived and worked, before we moved away from the NY metro area). I had to tell him that we don’t quite have the living situation for that now, but that we do have a lake to swim in across from us, and to skate on in Winter.
So the gifts we shared in front of our wood burning stove, were some Dutch (star shaped) dark chocolates that had real food ingredients (yup, Santa provided that to be magically found in a store on the other side of the pond, way Upstate NY, who knew?), some other wholesome snacks, a few toys, a set of playing card decks, dominoes, that sort of thing, and things that could keep our mostly indoor time fun and creative without too many major clashes. The other gifts we shared was doing our part in chores, and taking turns cooking. Simple. Wholesome. Delicious. And it worked. The kids agreed that this was their best Christmas ever 🙂
On New Years Eve Max came up with the idea for everyone to share what they were choosing to bring in in terms of newness, and changes, and asked each of us if and what we wanted to share. We all shared. Respecting everyone’s privacy, I’ll only share what I said: Continuing to be more present and meeting every new day with the same excitement that I have applied to approaching a new year. As a result, I’ve seen three sunrises in four days! Wowsa!