The silly season.

It’s that time of year again. December has come and with all the joys of Christmas it is hard to not get excited or thrilled at the idea of spending time away from the harsh realities of the working year.

What is the real meaning of Christmas to you? Is it the gifts under the tree, the lights in the windows, the cards in the mail, the time off, the dinners with family and friends, the sunshine glistening on the pop-up pool, stockings hanging in the living room, or shouts of “Merry Christmas” to those who pass us in the streets?

We all have our own interpretation of how Christmas should be. For me it begins at the crack of dawn when Neil Diamond’s classic Christmas hits ring down the hallway, opening presents appropriately adorned with Christmas hats. A glass of bubbles to celebrate with breakfast, watching Love Actually, eating too much and falling asleep by four in the afternoon.

I started to analyse why all these poignant moments that make Christmas Day so special to me are so and what I look forward to the most. It’s the family. All of these memories are so vivid because I have my family to celebrate them with. No matter how large or small we get on Christmas Day, I know that that is the greatest gift of all. And because you never know what the year will hold, it is important to come together and appreciate one another at a time where there are no excuses not too.

Christmas has always been the perfect opportunity to do this. You see it in the movies: everyone coming home for Christmas to be with their loved ones at all costs , the Christmas carols “Driving home for Christmas”. It is the perfect excuse to drop the worries and leave the stresses of the year that was and reconnect in celebration.

I have lost sight of this a little bit this year. I have become so enthralled in the retail mobs and the obsession of buying only the best that I forget why I’m doing it and who I’m doing it for. When I reflect on my own values I think about how I don’t have any desire for a gift that costs $1 or $1000, the thought is priceless.

So many families in New Zealand are under pressure to provide a picture-perfect Christmas like they see on TV. The one with with all the fancy gifts, glitzy decorations and delicious food.

For many people, Christmas is actually a time of sorrow when it shouldn’t have to be. Some don’t have the extra money to buy presents for their children, family, and friends. Many are saddened at Christmas time when they think of their loved ones who will not be able to come home for various reasons. Buffet dinners may be only a wish and not a reality for some.

It’s a sad world we live in when materialistic fortune is all that Christmas means. The latest and greatest at the expense of  one another’s pay packets who work so incredibly hard throughout the year is disheartening. There are other ways to make Christmas all that it should be without setting high expectations on one another.

If you haven’t got the money to spend and it’s making you feel bad that Christmas is coming, that’s not what it’s supposed to be about. Don’t spend money you do not have for the sake of the silly season only to find that when reality hits in the new year you are crippled with a Christmas hangover.

I couldn’t tell you what I was given for Christmas in 2004, but I can remember how I felt. Christmas is the time to create traditions, relax, laugh and relish the time you have.

Christmas is tangible, you can mold it to fit your lifestyle and have the freedom to celebrate it no matter what your religion, wealth or health status. Use this as an opportunity to reconnect with what really matters in life.

Make lists and live within your means. Follow the “less is more” approach because Christmas 2016 will be here before you know it.



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