Updated: Dec 31, 2019
So this blog was inspired by my friends. Turns out that this year, I have so many friends sharing with me “I hate Christmas!” That there is too much pressure from the holiday season. For them, they cannot wait for the whole thing to be over. First realize, I'm one of those people that hates taking down my decorations because I love having my home feel like Christmas.
So obviously I was taken aback and needed to reflect on how they were feeling and why. Realizing Christmas has become very commercial with a financial pressure associated with much of it. Especially for families with children. Plus, it can be a time of loneliness too if you do not have a special person in your life, family or maybe even friends to celebrate it with. I get it. I have been there and done that, and I am here to say it took me a conscientious effort to not let the outside world ruin the real meaning of the season for me and my relationship to celebrating the “coming” of Jesus’s birth.
With a German mother, we always had German Advent calendars. As a kid, I was so excited to have my daily chocolates until Christmas. It was such a tiny chocolate usually stamped with some type of cute imprint from the artwork of the calendar, such as a toy, a bunny, tree, etc. I waited for my parents to do the unveiling of the chocolate each day. Back then the simplicity of this was so exciting. Afterward my father prayed with me every night and our prayers included extra petitions for people in need. I remember this.
For those that do not know, Advent is the period of four Sundays and weeks before Christmas. This doesn’t always happen on December one, but this year, 2019, it does! Advent officially starts today! Advent in Latin means “coming” so it means Jesus coming into the world. The 4 Sundays leading to Christmas are a time for Christians to prepare and remember the real meaning of the Christmas season.
I spent a lot of Christmas’ working in a restaurant. The first 50 years of my life to be exact. Christmas is an extremely busy season for restauranteurs and my family worked tirelessly through the holidays. Looking back though, my parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and family friends all contributed to us not forgetting the reason for the season. Learning our collective traditions and sharing in company! I’m grateful that my parents never let our somewhat crazy work schedule escape our feeling of this Christian based holiday season.
My father was from Italy and my mother is from Germany. I was the first American born in our family. Both my parents loved Christmas and they demonstrated this love through our family traditions of food preparations in our home and time together as family and family friends. There was so much cooking and baking going on besides the restaurant obligations of food preparation.
Well, I started a full-scale catering service by the time I was 19 for my family business and that particular year I actually didn’t feel like I had time to even know it was Christmas. I was that busy! So, the following year I started decorating and collecting decorations, handmade, handed down, or store bought to decorate my home to the maximum. Not so much outside my home but inside because there was such comfort for me to come home after double and yes triple shifts to a Hallmark feeling in my home of twinkling lights, smiling reindeer, snowmen and Santa Claus. I also had Nativity seasons throughout my home. It truly felt like a hug when I came home! I continue to this day and as I unwrap each decoration, I unwrap a memory.
After all those years of working the holiday season, you can imagine I was thrilled to have it for myself when we final sold the business after 58 years! 50 years for me. Without the restaurant I was ready to attend holiday gatherings, tree lightings, and more! Murphy’s Law and somewhat comical now, I started dating a man that unbeknownst to me didn’t like Christmas. I met him in March, so it was a true surprise by December. As a matter of fact, I had the most amazing dinner planned, firewood for the fireplace, and I was ready to invite him into my Christmas tradition and decorate the tree together. I was dressed up and really excited to share this with someone I loved! Maybe I’ve seen one too many Christmas movies and read too many Christmas stories, but I was overly ready to share memories and create new ones. I was so excited. Well, his response was “you don’t expect me to work on a Christmas tree. I raised my two boys and had to decorate trees all those years and I’m not doing it anymore.” Huh. I found that really weird. I’m sharing these raw truths of my life because I get Christmas can be disappointing. Despite it truly being Divinely set up for us with all its Glory. It can sometimes miserably disappoint if you would like to connect with another human. Yet I don’t blame God or the season for disappointing feelings, I realize as humans we don’t always accept the gracious possibilities of this season. Needless to say, I’m not dating him anymore, and I will continue my tradition of decorating and enjoying my home during this holiday. Yet, I also feel compelled to kick-off the season with you on Day One of Advent with a call to action to not just survive this Christmas season, but to THRIVE IN IT.
My hope is that we can share memories, recipes, ideas, tips, and a-ha’s to inspire and comfort one another to make this a Heart Driven Purpose Christmas holiday.
If you are not Christian and do not celebrate this holiday, you are welcome to join us and just substitute Christmas or any part of the holiday that does not suit you with a mention of “goodwill and connectivity to self and others through your heart for 25 days.” Whatever your belief system might be, you are welcome to join this too!
There’s a German store in Torrance at the Alpine Village where you can buy Advent Calendar. I believe Cost Plus might have Advent calendars too. As well as our friend Amazon. See link below. I saw one as low as $6.99.
If you have a daily tradition of some kind leading to Christmas, please share! Or if you have heard of one you would like to try, please share that too.
Here’s to Thriving Christmas 2019! Merry Christmas! Group Hug!