Secret #6 for the Perfect Christmas

Remember that on the 25th of each month we will be revealing one of our secrets for the perfect Christmas in 2012.  Today we share secret #6- It doesn’t have to go your way.

This secret is pretty simple to grasp.  Things don’t have to be ideal for Christmas to be great.  We can so easily get bogged down with what didn’t work out or happen the way we expected that we don’t enjoy what actually happens.  So what if you couldn’t find exactly the gift you thought would be best, or couldn’t get the tickets to the must see concert, or couldn’t get to where you wanted to be a the exact time.  Embrace the season.  Enjoy the spirit of the holidays.  The most heart warming tales we love to read, hear, or see at the holidays almost all have things not going the right way as a common element.  Rudolph- definitely not what he thought his Christmas would be, Santa too that night.  Charlie Brown- he was certainly not enjoying how things were going at that Christmas Pageant.  All the Lifetime and Hallmark TV movies definitely have the plot focused on something gone wrong or unexpected.  Again I go back to Kevin in the movie Home Alone– little guy left behind by his family and he makes it work.  If we stop and think about the original Christmas we see that things for Mary and Joseph most definitely were not going their way.  I’m sure they did not plan to stay in a stable and Mary to give birth in a stall.  Cherish what happens and use your spirit and energy to make the best of it!

* Today also marks the 6 month point of our countdown.  Half a year gone!  We start all our podcasts with the phrase that “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas” and lately the weather has certainly not been what we think looks like it.  I was thinking today that this 90 degree weather and times at the shore is probably exactly what Christmas looks like for lots of people.  Think of the holiday in Australia- right when it’s warm and schools are on holiday.  I imagine the nostalgic imagines of a family Christmas might include the beach, cookouts, and time in the water if you were from down under.  So I will embrace this summer heat and think of how Christmas would be if the hemispheres were reversed and today’s weather was what I got on Christmas morning.  It is also giving me lots of ideas for our Christmas in July party coming up soon!

Secret #10 For the Perfect Christmas

In January we warned you that on the 25th of each month we would be revealing one of our secrets for the perfect Christmas in 2012.  Today we reveal Secret #10- Simple Can Be Better.

This can have many meanings for the holidays.  Simpler schedule, simpler gifts, simpler times.  It is so easy to get caught up in the complexities of the season.  Go here, go there.  Do this, do that.  Buy this, get that.  Remember that Christmas began with the a quiet and simple birth of a child in a manger.  No elaborate spectacles, no budget busting shopping sprees, just a family welcoming the new-born baby.  The simple joys of the holidays are often the most precious.  Think of your favorite holiday memory.  I bet it’s a special moment or kindness shared with family or close friends.  One of my best memories of recent Christmas years is the late evening Christmas Eves spent with my mother.  She would be finishing some special baking treats and I might be wrapping some final stocking stuffers.  The fire was burning warm and bright and we were definitely watching the broadcast of the Pope’s midnight mass.  I see these shared times as truly simple gifts.

That brings to mind the traditional Shaker hymn of the same name.  The melody and lyrics of this tune have become a cherished part of the American Folk Song catalog.  The lyrics speak to exactly what we mean about simple being better.  The first line says “‘Tis the gift to be simple, ’tis the gift to be free”.  So very true.  Read these two later verses and you can’t help but think a little differently about how Christmas might be:

‘Tis the gift to be loved and that love to return,
‘Tis the gift to be taught and a richer gift to learn,
And when we expect of others what we try to live each day,
Then we’ll all live together and we’ll all learn to say.
‘Tis the gift to have friends and a true friend to be,
‘Tis the gift to think of others not to only think of “me”,
And when we hear what others really think and really feel,
Then we’ll all live together with a love that is real.
(click on the gifts to hear some musical “gifts”)