CHRISTMAS is about giving. The custom of giving and receiving presents during Christmas is to remind us of the presents given to Jesus by the wise men: frankincense, gold and myrrh.
Frankincense was a perfume used in Jewish worship and as a gift, it showed that people would worship Jesus. Meanwhile, gold was associated with kings and Christians believe that Jesus is the King of Kings. On the other hand, myrrh was a perfume that was put on dead bodies to make them smell nice and. As a gift, it showed that Jesus would suffer and die.
Indeed, Christmas itself is really about a big present that God gave the world about 2000 years ago—Jesus, the real reason for the season.
Around the world, families and friends give gifts to each other. Most children believe in Santa Claus or Father Christmas, but in Germany, people believe that it is the Christkind, in Spain, they believe it is the Wise Men while in Italy, they believe it is the old lady they called Befana.
These gifts are also left in different places. In most of Europe, the gifts are left in shoes or boots put out by the children. In Italy, the UK and the USA, presents are left in stockings, often left hanging by a fire place. In many countries, gifts may be left under the Christmas Tree.
In the Philippines, this season is considered the merriest. It’s the time of the year when everybody is busy preparing to celebrate the birthday of Jesus with friends, relatives, and family. Indeed, it’s the time to give and receive but its also the most tiring season of all, especially when things are not planned ahead.
If you’re caught in your plans to spend the next couple of weeks shopping for gifts that you can’t decide to buy because you really can’t afford, standing in long lines to pay, trying to keep your sanity with the daily household chores while juggling your job deadlines, fitting in too many holiday parties on top of wrapping and decorating your home, here are some tips so you’ll be able to have a very merry Christmas.
Here are some holiday survival guide gathered from the internet, other readings, and experiences that will help you handle the holiday madness.
Make sure that your family comes first in your list.
There are times when we can’t recognize it, but we are giving in to too much stress that comes from trying to fulfill obligations to others. Stop and remember, it’s your right to put the health and comfort of yourself, your spouse and your children, and not accept other responsibilities.
Delegate other details to others
Remember Santa’s elves? They are there to help him pull off Christmas. Now it’s time to teach your children the value of responsibility. Think of ways on how can they help you with errands and preparations. Of course, you have to share the burden with your husband. After all, marriage is also partnership.
Be bold in modifying traditions
It’s a family tradition to visit two (or more) houses on Christmas Day ( your parent’s house and your husband’s home) to greet and exchange gifts. Why not schedule the visit ahead and spend the Christmas Day with just your own family this year. Discuss it with your husband and commit to start a new tradition.
Make everything simple
We put too much burden on ourselves in celebrating the holiday season. Try to eveluate if all these activities really make your holiday season really joyful or you’re just satisfying expectations. If you find these activities meaningful and enjoyable, then go for it but if it adds stress, eliminate them.
Demonstrate the real spirit of Christmas
Children learn by watching. If you tell them that materials things are not that important but never demonstrate being generous to the poor, this lesson will never sink in. Try to show them the other side of life by taking them to the less fortunate. Encourage them to share by helping them arrange a book drive for disadvantage kids or sing carols at a retirement home.
While shopping for your loved ones, try buying also for yourself and put them in a Christmas box to be open also during Christmas Day. I’m sure you’ll be delighted to see that all you need was granted this time.
Limit your gift giving
If it’s your tradition to give gifts to almost everybody in your office every holiday season, make sure you’re enjoying it but it’s already a burden, specially the cost, modify your list and create a group gift instead like food and wine that can be shared by a group.
Stop and enjoy the season
With all the stress in preparing for this season, stop for awhile and enjoy every activity you planned to do with your officemates, friends, family and relatives. This is easier said than done but it can be done by setting realistic expectations.