December 04, 2010

My Christmas Rx

This holiday season I am trying to keep a level head.  I love the Christmas season but I do not enjoy the stress of Christmas preparations.  I also feel the over indulgence of this season to be a bit of a downer.  I look at the toys tossed aside and broken from last year's Christmas holiday (or even this past October's birthday) and I get a bit sick inside.  Why are we training our children to be selfish and to look for their happiness in the next new thing?  Why is it that on one of the most thankful days of the year (Thanksgiving) I find myself wondering what things I can shop for the next day on black Friday?  What kind of example am I setting here?

I found myself in a cranky pre-season mood the other day and I diagnosed myself with the stress-of-the-Christmas-season blues.  I think I may have just concocted a cure.  Quiet time, and service to others.  Recommended dose? One time daily.

The other day on the radio I heard that as a society we spend over 80 percent more time taking in information in one form or another (TV, computer, cell phones, emails, etc) than we did just 40 yrs ago.  All this uptake of information isn't necessarily good.  We need to make time for silence.  One caller pointed out that Einstein used to take long quiet walks to reflect on the deep things he was thinking about.  I thought to myself, now that seems like a good idea!  It's just that as a mother of 5 I find quiet time a bit hard to come by.  I am always thinking of what stuff needs to be done and I can't really sit still for long without feeling guilt.  But like I said, I had this cranky day and I needed to think about how to make the next one better.  I am a repentant person generally, and if I can make things better I will try.  So after a long day of decorating the house for Christmas I decided to just sit back and admire my handiwork for a spell.  I  sat there for over 15 minutes just taking in the pretty mantel in my banana rocking chair on the floor.  Someone called me and I ignored.  I thought of something I needed to do, but brushed it aside.  Middle Boy came down and we had a nice chat.  I just stared into the twinkle lights on the mini-trees.  Then in my stillness came the idea to do something nice for my grumpy oldest teenager.  Melt his cold winter heart a bit.  So I enlisted the help of my two youngest girls who are always up for some niceness.  We decorated a one foot white plastic tree that we had sitting in a box and we placed it secretly on the desk in his room.  We propped up with orthodontic wax under one side since it's missing one of it's legs.  Then we excitedly waited for him to be surprised.  It was fun.  He really did like it I think.  Although, with teens it's hard to tell sometimes.  All I know is that he has been more charming to me ever since.

And since that day I have managed to find (at least one time a day) time to reflect and do nothing.  And in that time I usually think about what I can do that day (however small) to serve another person.  I find this is helping my perspective on the season to be much more in focus.  And just so you won't think me a bragging patron saint of service I will divulge that today my act of service was to not lose it with my 3 year old when she had a mega tantrum about her hairdo minutes before we had to be out the door this morning.  I just walked away and let her scream her "I hate Moms" at me from afar.  As it turned out, she managed to turn her frown upside down much sooner than usual.  And we weren't even late for school : )

Fa la la la la la la la la!


Connie said...

Orthodontic wax is like duct tape! It can be used for many things!
Amen to what you said about the stress of a materialistic Christmas! Service to others, really does help.
Now if the kids would just get on the same band wagon and not expect anything for Christmas, I think we'd have it made!
Enjoy your weekend.

c a n d a c e said...

I find your posts delightfully sincere and down-to-earth. Thank you for sharing the service & what peace it brings you. I have also discovered this especially recent. Thanks Aunt Kelly!

CSIowa said...

Excellent! I'm working on doing a little of nothing every day, too.

Becky said...

Thank you, Kelly. An answer to my ponderings. Merry Christmas!

Teachinfourth said...

I can't agree with you more on this post…sometimes we do get lost in the mix and don't take the time we need.

Kudos to you for doing a little Einstein-ish pondering and making the world around you a little bit better in the process!

M-Cat said...

Love it! I need to do this more. Slow it down, sit and enjoy the lights of the tree, and chillax!