This is certainly a hard Christmas for me. It is the first year that Kyle will not be waking up with me on Christmas morning. While he is healthy and well and this is his choice it is exceptionally hard for me. As a parent you only really have so many Christmas Days and Birthdays with your children and you don't expect them to be shortened...
Be that as it may it has been a good experience. This year I've stepped back and really done nothing for Christmas. Yes the tree is still in the box. Very little has been bought for presents and I simply do not really feel the Christmas spirit.
I'm actually ok with that. The season has never particularly sat well with me. My irritation at having to deal with Christmas carols and decorations from October is a well known fact. Yet my best friend has decked the halls with boughs holly... while I trail behind wanting to burn the stuff... different strokes for different folks... and that too is ok. Tomorrow I will celebrate the day with her and her family - knowing I am loved and accepted as I am.
Sitting back this year has let me observe people. The frantic last minute rushing into the shops to get gifts and buy food and seemingly never ending list of forgotten items. With gifts it is often settling for something completely inappropriate just so that the recipient has something to open. How much real thought goes into the exchanging of gifts? It is often guilt that drives our purchases and each year we buy bigger and better to try and appease our own guilt of perhaps not measuring up. I know because I've been driven by those demons too many times to mention.
All of this has made me realise it really is time for me to change my traditions in approaching Christmas. I need to find a new personal meaning for the day. One that resonates with me. Christmas is not for me the commercial buying it has become, big Christmas lunches leaving us stuffed and uncomfortable, time spent with people we ignore the rest of the year. I want to give back. I want to feel that I've made a difference, even if it is too only one individual. I'm not sure what format it will take. Involvement with charity work is personal and I think needs experimentation to see what fits with you as an individual. So that will be my challenge for 2014 - finding a fit for myself where I feel I am truly contributing towards a greater good.
To you and yours have a blessed Christmas. May the season bring you happiness and joy and peace. Stay safe if you are travelling. Enjoy the time with family and friends. Spare a thought for those less fortunate or working on the day and away from their families.
Above all remember it is a season for GIVING, not receiving.
Clement Clarke Moore (1779 - 1863) wrote the poem Twas the night before Christmas also called “A Visit from St. Nicholas" in 1822. It is now the tradition in many American families to read the poem every Christmas Eve. The poem 'Twas the night before Christmas' has redefined our image of Christmas and Santa Claus. Prior to the creation of the story of 'Twas the night before Christmas' St. Nicholas, the patron saint of children, had never been associated with a sleigh or reindeers!
Clement Moore, the author of the poem Twas the night before Christmas, was a reticent man and it is believed that a family friend, Miss H. Butler, sent a copy of the poem to the New York Sentinel who published the poem. The condition of publication was that the author of Twas the night before Christmas was to remain anonymous. The first publication date was 23rd December 1823 and it was an immediate success. It was not until 1844 that Clement Clarke Moore claimed ownership when the work was included in a book of his poetry.
Twas the Night before Christmas Poem
Make it Snow !
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of sugar-plums danced in their heads.
And mamma in her ‘kerchief, and I in my cap,
Had just settled our brains for a long winter’s nap.
When out on the lawn there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.
The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
Gave the lustre of mid-day to objects below.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tinny reindeer.
With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St Nick.
More rapid than eagles his coursers they came,
And he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name!
"Now Dasher! now, Dancer! now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid! on, on Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!"
As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
When they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky.
So up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
With the sleigh full of Toys, and St Nicholas too.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head, and was turning around,
Down the chimney St Nicholas came with a bound.
He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
And his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of Toys he had flung on his back,
And he looked like a peddler, just opening his pack.
His eyes-how they twinkled! his dimples how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
And the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
That shook when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly!
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself!
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head,
Soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
And giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!
He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ‘ere he drove out of sight,
"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good-night!"
Twas the Night before Christmas Poem