By Marilyn Turk
In the famous Dickens’ story, A Christmas Carol, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by three spirits – the ghost of Christmas Past, the ghost of Christmas Present, and the ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.
Over the past few weeks, I’ve read many blog posts, and one recurring theme is the focus on Christmases past. These memories are part of what makes Christmastime so special. We love the nostalgia it brings. We remember family gatherings from Christmases in our past, and we recognize decorations that stir memories of the person or place they came from.
These memories are often bittersweet. We miss the family members who are no longer with us. And although we appreciate the adults they’ve become, we still miss the innocence of our children when they were young. Our minds drift back in time, and part of us wants to go back with it.
However, it is often those memories that can make us depressed at this time of year. Knowing we can’t go back is a fact of life the child in us doesn’t want to accept. We can get so caught up in the past that we fail to enjoy the present.
Lately, I found myself in this situation, and I discovered that those memories were preventing me from experiencing the joy of today. I realized that if I don’t uproot my mind from the past, I could very well miss the wonder of Christmas now.
So in case you’re dealing with some melancholy like I was, here’s some tips to turning your attitude around.
- Be thankful for good Christmas memories.
- See Christmas through the eyes of a child, whether your own, your grandchild, a relative, a neighbor, put yourself in the child’s shoes and feel the excitement that youth feels.
- Get out of the house. As long as the weather outside is not “frightful,” or you’re unable, go some place where other people are – a coffee shop, a mall (unless traffic is a deterrent), where you can be around other people in a festive mood.
- Watch a happy Christmas movie. Hallmark Channel has them nonstop this month.
- Go visit a friend and bring him/her something – cookies, candy, something simple that shows you care.
- Go caroling. Or just play some Christmas music.
- Get involved in a community project to help others this time of year – the Empty Stocking Fund or other local campaigns to provide gifts for the less-fortunate.
- Decorate your house! I’ve heard some people say that since they don’t have kids in the house anymore or they’re going away for the holidays, there’s no need to decorate. Humbug! You may not need to do as much as you used to, but put something festive up. Burn a scented candle that has a holiday scent.
- Wear something festive, even if it’s goofy. If you can make others laugh, you’ll smile too.
- Make cookies for your neighbors.
- And last, but most importantly, be thankful for Christmas and what it represents, the son of God come to earth as a human, born as a baby to be our Messiah, our Savior. Put out a nativity and read the Christmas story out loud. Then watch this video that tells the story from a child’s perspective. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=suowe2czxcA
Celebrate this Christmas, Christmas Present, so in your Christmases Yet to Come, you won’t have any regrets of Christmas Past.
May your Christmas be blessed, and your joy be full!