Christmas is a holiday that is notorious for being stressful. We put pressure on ourselves to make everything "perfect." We strive for the Martha Stewart Christmas Tree elaborately decorated, an expertly timed Christmas dinner and an elegant table at which to eat it and presents overflowing around the tree- all adorned with ribbons and bows. Why do we exhaust ourselves this way? When did the Spirit of Christmas go from simply being a time to enjoy the company of our friends and family to waiting to crash out on Boxing Day from all the hustle and bustle?
In thinking of what to write for a holiday blog post, I wanted to focus on one of the 10 Life is Good Superpowers- Fun, Openness, Compassion, Love, Simplicity, Courage, Authenticity, Creativity, Gratitude and Humour. Gratitude was an obvious choice but the superpower of Simplicity had deeper meaning for me.
In 2015, 9 days before Christmas, my daughter was born 5 weeks early. At first she seemed healthy and despite her early arrival, she was strong. A couple of days after being released, we were back in hospital for severe jaundice. Each day in hospital, her jaundice improved and we were told that we would be going home. On our 4th day there, a nurse noticed that my daughter was displaying some unusual behaviour. She was having seizures. Living in Toronto at the time, we were sent that day to Sick Kids. It was Christmas Eve.
The NICU doctors took her into the ward and we had to wait anxiously outside while they examined her. I longed to be there to comfort my new baby and the wait seemed forever. We finally got to see her and the doctors had no answers. All we knew is that she wasn't well at all. After we knew she was in safe hands, my husband and I found ourselves at the hospital's Ronald McDonald room. We were given a hot cup of coffee and a Christmas dinner at 11 pm at night. The meal and coffee were a simple gesture but it meant the World to us. We felt taken care of. That we would get through the night.
That night we slept in a room meant for breast feeding. My husband slept on the cold floor and I on a milk stained couch. The next morning-Christmas morning, we went to see our daughter. She was stable but still no answers. We grabbed a coffee again as we had not slept well and when we returned, Santa had been to visit my baby. He left a gift and a stocking. Again, a small gesture from the hospital, but we were speechless of the generosity. At the most stressful time in our lives and at such a special time of year, our first Christmas with our daughter felt magical because of all the simple things. Being together, the festive decorations around the hospital and the visit from Santa made everything normal. It wasn't what we had planned for Christmas, but in that moment, Christmas was simply perfect.
This year, choose Simplicity. Don't fret if the gravy is lumpy, that the gifts look like they were wrapped by toddlers or you forgot to pick up the wine for Christmas dinner. Those things won't be remembered. It's your time with family and friends that will be. Besides, it IS the most wonderful time of the year. :)