Christmas with a Capital C!

So, I do Christmas BIG!  I love EVERYTHING about it!  When I lived in the Northern Hemisphere I LOVED the cold winter and the snow – oh how I miss the snow … I love the malls and the decorations and the cheesy carols and the hint of romantic promise that Christmas brings!  I love the cooking and the shopping!  I literally start in about July, thinking ahead about some gift I can proactively make for the multitude of teachers and extra folk that I just can’t not give a present to or hurt their feelings by not having something on hand, after all, everyone wants to feel loved at Christmas – right?  Then in about September, I get really serious … the Christmas carols come out and get played and I start turning my mind to the presents that I will give Santa will give to the girls and other close family members. 
Every year I have a fruitless hunt for a REAL Advent Calendar.  By REAL, I mean one without chocolate in it!  I just can’t do those for 2 reasons:  1 - I believe that it sends my children the wrong message about Advent and not everything has to be complicated by the presents of chocolate (yes, those words came from me!) And 2 – the one year someone gave us a Chocolate Advent Calendar and I weakened, my then 3 year old turning into a member of Cirque du soleil balancing on chairs and bikes to raid her Chocolate Advent Calendar at 3am.  Nope, I don’t do Chocolate Advent Calendars but sadly the traditional Advent Calendars seem to be something of the past, as I haven’t seen them in at least 10 years … very sad …
So I decided this year I would create my own Advent Calendar without sweeties … but then my day-job changed radically and my focus moved to something that demanded my full attention and before I knew it, I hadn’t done a thing around my self-created Advent Calendar and it was already the 3rd December 2011 … I’m only just now shelving the “bad mother guilt” around not providing my girls with that childhood memory … but I will live and I have a great idea for Advent 2012 (with or without the Mayans).
As much as I revel in every twinkly light and bauble on the tree, as the shadows draw long, I have learned something … as much as I LOVE giving and receiving presents … it seems to be becoming less and less about that and more and more about spending wonderful time with my family and friends and telling the people that decorate my life, how much I love and value them and how very blessed I am to have them as family and friends.
Last Saturday, I watched a really lovely movie (on Satellite) called Christmas with a Capital C … it’s a stunning movie and a wonderful film to watch with the kids (I highly recommend it) … but the take-aways I got from the movie were … for me … don’t take Christ out of Christmas.  So I won’t be copping out with Happy Holidays or enjoy the Festive Season or Merry Xmas this year … I will be proudly wearing my faith on my sleeve.  AND BE the example of what Christmas should look like to others!  Make it more than the twinkly lights and baubles on the tree … walk my Christian talk!
So what have I learned … It’s been a really long hard year, and many people will finish this year deeper in debt and more worse for wear … but we have so much and if we live in a grateful space, we really do just see our many many blessings, even if we don’t think so at the time.  I love the presents – so please feel free – but a sincere word and an honest moment mean more to me than anything worldly (my iPad excluded).  And the Change starts with me … so as I enter the 3rd week in Advent, I will work at being the example of what Christmas should look like to others …
Love you all madly …
Warm regards … Collette in Cape Town

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