The holidays are a magical time of year. People are more filled with cheer. Love and peace are in the air. Maybe it’s all the Christmas blitzkrieg propaganda we are fed through advertising or maybe we should credit the drugs pumped through our air systems – possible? I kid on the latter, folks.
For those of us who celebrate the holidays, we embrace the music, the food, and altruistic giving wholeheartedly. We essentially get a vacation from our lives, and embody the person we wish to be. It’s the most wonderful time of year, no?
So here’s my beef with the holidays.
Firstly – the holidays have become a consumerist bonanza season under the masquerade of something meaningful. Rather than the original intent of holidays – to spend time with loved ones and connect – we instead have convoluted it into a gift giving frenzy with each person wanting to do it bigger, better, MORE. Oh hello, ego, how are you doing today? Sound familiar?
Let me clarify. I believe the spirit of the holidays is absolutely beautiful, pure, and something we should seek to embody more often than just one day or a couple weeks per year. I also believe this giving, loving spirit is natural to all of us. I find it sad however that we have lost touch with this innate part of ourselves for the majority of the year. I also find it absurd how this desire to give has been manipulated by corporate giants to become a warped consumer competition.
(Read more about this in my post Consumerism And Self Worth: Part Three: The Consumer Trap.)
Secondly, everyone finds kindness and love during the holiday season. Yet on January 2nd, we tend to go back to the miserable robots we were before the holidays started. “Holiday spirit” vanishes like a banished ghost and we return back to work after the holiday vacation quite resembling Ebenezer Scrooge. Which poses the interesting question, why do we only embody this spirit of giving and kindness during the holidays anyway?
Once the Christmas commercials have disappeared and the decorations have been taken down, we revert to our cranky, often unhappy selves. Why? Now this one friends we can’t point fingers at anyone but ourselves. The holiday cheer couldn’t have gone further than skin deep if it fades so rapidly.
Consider a world where everyone carried this holiday spirit with them year round – what a loving world that would be! Yes, I realize it’s not possible to be anything 24/7 365, but it certainly is possible to continually strive to the best of our ability to be our highest selves.
Thirdly, New Year’s “Resolutions” are promptly abandoned a week, two weeks in. Perhaps we ought to ask ourselves, why wait for New Years to create change? After all, if we’re breaking resolutions a week into creating them, how resolute could they have been? If we’re not resolved to the changes we want to make, why set the intention at all? What’s the point? To comply with holiday traditions we don’t truly want to abide by?
That is completely okay, whether or not each of us wants to change is entirely up to the individual’s discretion. For those of us who do truly want change, we for the most part are aware we don’t need to wait for a single day deemed “special” to make that commitment to ourselves. After all, there are 365 days in a year – why wait for one marked by capitalist consumerism as “important”?
Fourthly, people regard those who do not enjoy celebrating modern, conventional holidays such as Christmas as grinches and party poopers. It never occurs to some that those of us who don’t enjoy what holidays have now become have perfectly valid reasons to feel the way we do. Some simply conclude that we are miserable individuals, when we might actually be the most woke people on the planet. Such is the burden of being awakened to the reality of the matrix we live in. Cue sigh of exasperation.
Clearly, I could go on and on about this.
So for those who are awakened to the absurdity of the way holidays are celebrated in modern times, how do we get through it without losing our peace of mind to the blatant contradictions and bullshit?
1. Spend Time With People You Actually Like
Don’t like the people you have to spend time with? Guess what. You don’t HAVE to. Everything is a conscious choice, sometimes these choices will have unwanted consequences though. We need to decide for ourselves which decisions are worth the consequences.
Perhaps you’ve already committed yourself to spending time with your family, which may or may not include extended family that you’re not particularly fond of. Make the best of the time you’ve committed to your relatives and then take some time to spend time with people you want to be around!
For me, I’ve committed to spend Christmas with my family whom I love! Unlike a lot of us, I don’t have the struggle of needing to deal with relatives I don’t enjoy. However, I also want to spend time with my housemates. So my housemates and I committed to spending a day together when I return from visiting my family and we have planned a mini Christmas of our own. It’s like a venn diagram in which I get the best of both worlds!
Be sure to surround yourself with people who lift you up and help you feel connected! It doesn’t have to be a full blown holiday extravaganza. Simply set aside an hour or two to share a meal, have a conversation, or do an enjoyable activity together.
2. Define For Yourself What The Holidays Mean To You
We each get a choice in how or if we choose to participate in the holidays. Let go of what you “should” be doing and what you feel obligated to participate in. We don’t HAVE to buy presents. We don’t HAVE to do overblown decorations. We don’t HAVE to do anything!
Some of us may love giving gifts as a gesture of appreciation and thoughtfulness. Others may find this tedious and stressful and may enjoy cooking for others better. Some of us may choose not to participate altogether! Maybe you want to dress up as Santa in drag or a BDSM elf. Who are we to judge?
As long as what you are doing is true to your authenticity and brings you peace and joy, go for it! I don’t believe in blanket definitions and over-generalizations. We get to decide what the holidays mean to us, if anything at all.
When we do things out of obligation rather than genuine willingness and excitement, resentment builds within us. Our resentment then leaks out into our interactions with others. So instead, do what feels good. Give what you are willing and able to give. Fuck the rest.
3. Focus Less On The What And More On The Why
Rather than fixating on what we are doing, what we are giving, what we are getting, what we are obligated to do, try asking yourself, why? Why am I doing this? Why am I giving this gift to this person? Examine your own intentions and the intentions of others.
Some of us feel the pressure to give the perfect gift or to go over the top with hosting parties and family get togethers. Take this pressure off of yourself by reconnecting to why you are doing what you’re doing. This reaffirms the purpose behind your actions, making it more enjoyable and meaningful.
Maybe you want to make a special someone in your life feel loved and valued but you despise giving material goods and holiday decoration nuisances. Instead, give them a special massage or spend quality time with them. What we do doesn’t have to fit convention or tradition. Express how much they mean to you and show them in a way that resonates with you!
4. Celebrate Something About The Season You Resonate With
There’s usually at least one thing during this season that we can each get behind. Maybe for you it’s the winter solstice like it is for me. Or perhaps it’s the first snowfall that gets you connected with that child-like state of wonder.
Whatever it is, find what brings you joy and boosts your energy.
Maybe you start a solstice celebration with your friends and honor the changing of the seasons. For me, I would prepare a vegan meal with seasonal produce and take a nature walk to pay homage to all the fallen trees sacrificed for Christmas.
I’d set an intention for the season – what I want to attract into my life and what I want to release that is no longer serving me. I’d commit to this intention by tying it to a ritual involving the elements. This could be writing my intentions on a piece of paper and burning it in a fire or stating my intentions aloud and tossing pebbles into a creek in the woods.
However and whatever you choose to celebrate, make it your own!
5. Remember That Not Everyone Sees It How You Do
Remembering that everyone has their own life experiences that has helped to cultivate their worldview and perspectives will save you a lot of stress and potential conflict. When we acknowledge that although we see things we’d rather change about the holidays, not everyone has the same vision we do.
Rather than arguing with that one uncle who is an adamant Trump supporter and may be a secret white pointy hat gang member, root into your heart space (and hide your cooking knives). Try to see the situation from a place of love and understanding. Maybe your uncle was raised in a family with racial conditioning and feels completely out of control in his own life.
Now if you really feel compelled to argue, I am not trying to deter you. Some things need to be said. However, wisdom knows the difference between when silence is more impactful than speaking.
By remaining true to our beliefs and accepting that others have sometimes vastly differing views, we give ourselves the gift of peace. Often we will find that peace is worth more than being right. Not to mention, it is borderline impossible to win arguments with dodo brains anyhow.
6. Lead By Example
Do you believe in kindness, generosity of spirit, and love? Show it. Not necessarily by your words and trying too hard to convince those on the opposing side, but by your actions. After all, when we argue with those who don’t want to hear it, our words fall upon deaf ears.
We must remember that this spirit of love, compassion, and giving is within each of us. It is not some mythical holiday fairy that visits us through menorahs, trees, or presents. We all have an inner, divine connection to this energy because it is natural to our souls. We must unlearn the pain and conditioning we have accumulated in our lives to reconnect with the purest parts of ourselves.
Choose instead to lead by example and take the high road. Show unconditional love and make your loved ones feel seen, heard, and felt. It may be difficult to be take on the leadership role in these situations, but change can begin with one person. Let that person be you this holiday season! Be the change you want to see.
7. Take Time To Recharge
When all the chaos is said and done, commit to giving yourself the same love and energy you’ve given to your loved ones. You deserve it!
Treat yourself to a boxing class or a decadent dessert. Buy yourself that cactus you’ve been eyeing. Take that trip to the animal sanctuary you’ve been putting off. Or simply lounge around in your sweats with your cat and queue up your favorite movies on Netflix.
When we make sure we are well taken care of, we can allow our beautiful, healing energy to ripple out into the world around us.
Happy Holidays everyone!
Stay centered. Stay grounded. Stay true to yourself. May you embody the spirit long after the season is over.
What are your favorite ways to celebrate the holidays?