by Nicole Serafin, Age 40, Tintenbar NSW
I have been observing, not only this year but over the past few years, what it is that Christmas actually is.
When we were young it was all about the presents, then as I hit my teenage years it became all about the celebrations and parties that went along with the festive season. I spent many a morning with hangovers, then the afternoons with a very full belly, wishing I had not eaten or drunk so much. Then as I got older there seemed to actually be no true meaning to Christmas.
People used to say that if you had children or grandchildren that it was all about the children, but if you did not have any children, what then? You can see on the news the amount of unwanted gifts that get returned or sold online; gifts that have been given out of duty or obligation because it is just something we do at Christmas. Gifts are purchased that can often not be afforded, but the debt is incurred anyway, just to make sure that we are ‘doing the right thing’. The extra stress and pressure people put themselves under to make sure that the day is perfect, whether it be with food, alcohol and/or gifts, is enormous.
Each year the conversations that I have with people – whether it be shopkeepers, checkout people, family or friends – are always the same: why do we do this, I can’t wait for it to be over, next year I am going to do it differently, etc. They then dread the day that their credit card statement arrives.
For me it appeared that the meaning and purpose of Christmas had been lost and it became increasingly difficult to go along with it the older I got. It felt like it had become something that we celebrate out of habit, rather than what we feel we should do, in the way that we feel it should be.
I decided that I had to distance myself from the whole Christmas thing in order to rediscover what, for me, Christmas was all about. I got to feel that Christmas was a time that I wanted to spend with people dear to me, with friends and family. It is a time to celebrate who I am, and reflect on what I have, and appreciate where I am at. I then take that deeper appreciation and self-love with me into the new year.