I was talking to a friend about Christmas and “downscaling”. The conversation was filled with a lot of “Honey’s”, “Chile’s”, and “Whew’s”. We were compiling all the sacrifices we end up making as parents/adults during the holiday season.
We closed our eyes and shook our heads as we came to terms with the unfinished business we fought to wrap up in 2019; unfortunately, we just couldn’t manage to tie the perfect bow around business communications and projects.
We sighed when we thought about all the presents that still needed to be purchased, the inevitable crowds at Wal-Mart, and the bills with the December and January due dates that made us pump our brakes on spending.
Thinking back to my childhood Christmases, I wonder how my parents managed to give us everything we hoped for. What I now understand is that they were barely able to, and what they we’re able to do, they did in the final hour while coping with losses. We were blessed.
The holidays can be a whirlwind: emotional ups and downs, physical and mental exhaustion, social comparisons that lead to shame, and yes, financial strains.
This is because Christmas in America has this standard built around gifts, decor, food, family, and traditions. Every television network, every commercial/advertisement, every radio station, every media outlet tells us how we should celebrate the mega holiday.
The reality is that the vast majority of people are not able to live up to this celebration standard: People are homeless. Work conditions are inequitable. People have been laid off. People have lost loved ones. Families are feuding…
It was as if my friend and I were so programmed to talk about the hardships around Christmas that we forgot to lead with the most imprtant thing: Gratefulness.
Lord, I am here. I have some unmet goals and some unpaid bills, but I am here. I have an amazing family and some amazing girlfriends. These people are Gift enough.
As we enter into the Christmas holiday, I want to encourage you all to not let your conditions and given circumstances discourage you.
Even in times of hardship and pain, we are humanly capable of cherishing people and savoring moments.
This season, may we give the gift of time, kinship, friendship, love, support, and kindness.
May we also remember that we are a creative culture! We don’t have to go broke trying to bond and make good memories.
My friend and I ultimately agreed that this year’s holiday goal would be less money on things, more time with eachother.
In hindsight, we didn’t consider the inadequacy Joseph and Mary, new parents, must have felt when they had to go into a cattle shed to receive their miracle. While their conditions suggested poverty, Mary birthed Majesty!
Again, we are so blessed! Merry Christmas from my family to yours! ❤
Clinnesha is a writer, wife, mom, meta-artist, and social entrepreneur who feels most accountable to southern, black citizen-artists, elders, children, and families. Her work is at the intersection of arts, culture, innovation, and community.