Uhm, can you believe it is December 3? Like most people, I'm kind of shocked that we're in the month of craziness...
As you likely know, for the past five years, I haven't spent December in Canada. I've been in Belgium racing my bike and blissfully unaware of the commercialism that has overtaken Christmas. In Belgium (and a lot of Europe), Christmas is still primarily a religious holiday. Children receive presents but people don't go over-the-top. There are a few decorations but the icicle lights don't go up the day after Halloween. Christmas is subtle and understated - with most people really just enjoying a good meal with friends and family and not stressing about the "perfect present".
This is the way I like it. Marc and I stopped exchanging Christmas gifts many years ago. We both found it crazy to be stressing out over what to buy one another.
I guess I got used to the relaxed and quiet Christmas - so much so that I'm having trouble adjusting to the North American version of Christmas. People are really a bit intense about this day and holiday. For some reason the stores are packed, people are desperate for the latest gadget/toy, and the grocery stores are doing a good job of convincing people that December is all about fat, sugar, and excessive eating.
Sorry, I don't want to sound like a downer here - but it just seems that the spirit of Christmas has gotten lost in the piles of presents, boxes of chocolates, and endless rolls of wrapping paper.
This year, Christmas will be very different for me. Marc is leaving for Belgium today and won't be home until mid-January. It will be very hard to be apart over Christmas but I know he'll be well taken care of by our good friends in Belgium and I know he'll be out racing his bike on Christmas Eve Day, Christmas Day and Boxing Day - doing what he loves at this time of the year only makes sense. I'll be hopping in the trusty Matrix and navigating Highway 7 with my ulitmate destination being Lakefield. It will be great to spend Christmas with parents and will help me from wondering what Marc is doing and if he is okay. I'm looking forward to sleeping in, taking the wonder dog out for a walk or two, going for some runs, eating some chocolate and just chilling out.
Christmas should not be about stress and anxiety. It should be about doing what makes you happy. If this is going for a day long ski in the Gatineau Park then go for it, if it is sleeping in and watching movies all day then do it, if it is about cooking up a storm and sitting down to a meal with your extended family then make sure it happens. Just remember that it is not about the presents it is about being in the present.