Friday, 12 December 2014

How to celebrate (Christmas)? Your own way.

Celebrating different occasions and moments in your life is not easy. But once you master it, it can actually become an art.

On your set! Ready! Go! Off they went and the Christmas race has begun. As soon as Halloween’s decorations and sales are taken down Christmas appears. It’s time to be in a Christmas mood, enjoy every party you attend, get drunk and do something silly that you’ll not even remember, stand in long queues and at the end get grumpy and complain that it all doesn’t make sense. Really? Is that what Christmas is about? That’s what everyone around is trying to convince others about. But I say ‘no’ to that and go back to the roots of Christmas to find its meaning and my own way to celebrate this time of the year.

The reason for the season is Jesus and you cannot deny it. Hanuka, Ramadan and Dewali have reasons behind them and so does Christmas. Is Christmas really about getting stressed? Arguing with your family? And buying gifts that people will not like? No, it’s not. It’s just what culture makes to believe in. Christmas is a God’s birthday celebration and that’s not another boring point from a religious talk. It’s about God who decided to come down to this world to save His people from dark, meaningless, boring and unfulfilling life and instead give them (means every one of us) life that is full of everything we need. It’s not just a celebration of winter holiday and nice time to give gifts to each other. There is more to it and that’s why I like to listen to the lyrics of Christmas carols and Christmas messages, because it all has meaning and take the stress out of our life.

I enjoy weeks leading up to Christmas. I like Christmas markets (at least some of them), Christmas food and traditions. I love the fact that people forget all the wrongdoings during that time and are more likely to forgive and I think we should celebrate Christmas but let’s not add some artificial stuff to it. So what’s the way to celebrate? Of course there are many and everyone is free to choose their own. Actually, it’s not easy to celebrate in general, so let’s have a look at celebrations in our life.

When we are children it is easy to celebrate birthdays, Christmas, and even our parents’ wedding anniversaries, because everything is always new and exciting – things we do and gifts we give. But when we grow up (not yet old) it all becomes a bit different, less meaningful. How you can make 30th Christmas amazing and original? How birthday can be different than the previous one and how you can still surprise the loved ones?

I like when someone else is celebrating and I usually try to remember about friends and family’s special days and write a nice card or present a gift. I want them to feel special and let them know they are remembered and important to me. The problem I have is with my own celebrations. Birthday is a special day. After all, it reminds me of the day I came to this world, though I don’t really remember the day itself. I don’t want to make the celebration a must – a day when you have to be happy and sometimes pretend that it’s special. So when my birthday is coming up I am always thinking it’s a day like any other, I can celebrate any other time. It’s a bit like waiting for the New Year’s Eve – it’s the same every year and it’s only a night. You wait for the whole year, or maybe only since Christmas, wait for that countdown, fireworks but really it’s a night like any other. It’s only the fact that we add a celebration to it and we think we must have fun.

But we should be celebrating. Life is hard, life is busy, life is a routine and celebration days are meant to be the ones that make a difference. So what are the ways to celebrate in (creative) style but without creating unreal atmosphere? 

1. Pray
Your birthday, Christmas and any other celebration is the day God has made and it commemorates something different than other days. This is something to be thankful for. Even if you don’t pray or you’re not a Christian, just say few words into the air. Maybe someone will hear. It is the moment to stop and say “thank you” for all those years that passed and for all those that will come.

2. Plan or ... be spontaneous 
That doesn’t sound like the best advice ever. I know. But we are all different. Some will feel better by planning and some by being spontaneous. Whichever options you choose don’t think about the upcoming celebration as something big that you must celebrate. 

3. …do what you like and be with those you like
Don’t throw a huge party if you are not a party person. Invite few good friends and just be with them, laugh and enjoy life. Be with those you like and love but if you prefer to be alone and read a book and then eat a piece of birthday cake, then do it. Have me time, time to slow down, think and look into the future. 

4. Go back to the basics
To find out what you really would like to do on that special day, remind yourself about its meaning. Christmas is not about shopping but it is about celebrating Christ’s birth and that has a lot of meanings. Birthday is about remembering the day your life began in this world; anniversaries are to remember those milestone moments in our lives. So what are things really associated with them?

5. Relax and remember why you are celebrating in the first place

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