I don’t celebrate Christmas.
For the past 30 years, Christmas for me and my family meant having dinner and sleeping in early. There were some gifts, but without the traditions of other families.
Then, I got married, and spent Christmas with my wife’s family.
What did I learn, after 30 years of sleeping in on Christmas eve?
It’s the people.
As with every tradition, it’s the people who celebrate it who give it life, and meaning.
This doesn’t mean there are traditions better than any other tradition.
It’s the people who decide which traditions are worth celebrating, which ones they choose to continue, maintain, enjoy, and live out.
And which traditions they attach meaning to.
From what I saw this Christmas, Filipino families value togetherness, family, and generosity. There is a cheer, a happiness with not only receiving gifts, but in giving them, and showing love, togetherness, and appreciation to each other.
Traditions are meaningful to people who grew up, practiced them, and found their own meaning in the traditions and practice.
Look at the traditions and practices that you do. What meaning do you attach to them?
Why do you continue to do it?
You always have a choice.
Growing up, my parents would always have me and my siblings do what they did for Christmas, and new year.
Meaning, Christmas was a low-key affair for me and my family, while new year was a big event, complete with fireworks, a lot of food, and reunions with family.
Now, I’m blessed to have experienced great traditions growing up, but I realized, that you always have a choice, whether to continue or not.
People live their lives, believing and saying that they are bound by tradition. Even when it is clear that they don’t want to, or that the traditions do not benefit them, and even the people they care most about.
And yet, we all say “we don’t have a choice.”
Because society says so, family says so, friends and loved ones says so, and my mind and body, fueled by momentum and inertia, says so.
But that’s all false.
Your interpretation is how you experience things.
Things are what they are, it’s our interpretation of those things that determine how we experience them, and their effect on us.
I really don’t celebrate Christmas, and since forever, I’ve always seen it as a highly commercialized, insincere, money-grabbing season. People feel pressured to give gifts, and always worrying about what other people think.
How would you want to be spending Christmas? Striking a balance between giving and receiving? Or not even asking that question, at all?
Focusing on blessings, gratitude, and togetherness.
It’s never too late. You always have a choice with your thoughts and beliefs. You can build the beliefs that you want, to support the life, and experiences that you want to have.
And once again, I am humbled.
Humbled by the generosity I experienced, and by allowing myself to be proven wrong, yet again.
I’d rather be happy, wealthy, loved, than be right.
There’s always a better way.
Believe in yourself.
What have you learned this Christmas season? Please share in the comments below!