My Heart, Your Home: What Christmas Means to Me   

Saturday, 15 December 2012

What Christmas Means to Me

Christmas is a time of year that can often be swept away by stress and pressure, responsibilities and expectations, presents and things. It is a time of year that the traditions of the holiday can become so important to keep and repeat that we forget to actually live them. It is a time when everyone's desire to have the perfect Christmas, the perfect gift and the perfect decorations can often lead to people forgetting what Christmas is truly all about.

I am one of those people, I forget. I worry so much about what I want it to be, that it comes and goes and it was not at all what I was dreaming of. Growing up, Christmas was often surrounded by sadness and disappointment. My Mum was a single Mother of three children and come Christmas time, she grieved the life that she always wanted. It was a hard time for her and I remember it being so. My Dad was surrounded by a new family whom he celebrated with each year and by the time we made it down to him, Christmas was over. Each year, Christmas was not celebrated to its full potential and I have carried those memories with me into my adulthood, finding it difficult to celebrate Christmas for what I want it to be.

Christmas to me is about love. Not only for ourselves and our families, but for the world. It is about giving, not just gifts and food, but support and thanks. Christmas is a time to be grateful for the year that has passed and to look forward to the year that is to come. It is not a time to dwell on what was not, or what could have been, relationships lost, dreams not met. It is a time to look up, look forward and to be happy. It is about giving, to those who need it more than you, wether it be your time, a smile, a friendly hand, food or a gift. It is about helping to make someone else's day a little happier than before. It is about community. 
Christmas is not just about my family, it is about all families. It is not just about my children, but about all the children. It is not just about my world and what is important to me, it is about using my world to help the worlds of others. Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to be able to do something at Christmas time that was for the good of others, to help those who cannot help themselves, and every year what is important to me, becomes more important. But this year, I want that to be different. 

At a time of the year where most celebrate their good fortune and each other with food and good wine, with chilled beer and cheer, there are families out there who may not be able to be together. There are children who do not have parents. There parents who cannot provide for their children. There sick people and their families praying for good health. I cannot heal the hearts of all of those people, I cannot give them what they need or pray for, I cannot change their future or their pasts. But I can help to make their day just a little bit brighter. Christmas is about giving, to others, selflessly.

This year, in the week leading up to Christmas, my family and I will be baking and creating care packages full of Christmas treats. And on Christmas morning, before we open our presents, Anthony, Evelyn and I will be heading to the hospital and we will give out small boxes of cheer to the patients on the children's and intensive care wards. 

This may not be selfless, because to give in a way such as this, lifts your spirits in a way like no other. It will not be selfless because starting this tradition this year will teach my Daughter that Christmas is not about what is beneath the tree, it is about what is within our hearts. It is definitely not selfless because the feeling that this brings to me, to be able to do something for someone else on Christmas Day, is far greater than the feeling that any food or gift could ever bring to those people. One day, I will find a way to commit a true selfless act on Christmas Day, but for this year I am just thrilled to be able to do anything at all.

Being able to do something as small as this, for unknowing people, serves as a reminder to myself (and Anthony) that the world is so much bigger than us. I need to remind myself that I lead a privileged life and it is my responsibility to use my privilege to help others. This is a reminder to myself to slow down this Christmas, to think about others, to be kind and thoughtful, to care and to share. 

The world needs more kindness...

My heartfelt thoughts go out to all of those who are in a situation less fortunate than me and especially to the families and loved ones affected by the Connecticut tragedy today


  1. Love your photos! The red back drop and white confetti look great!
    And beautiful words accompanying them. What a lovely Christmas gesture.
    Merry Christmas x

  2. Hi Jess, that's a wonderful post, hope you and your family have a great Christmas!

    I found your post via the Blogs and PR website, as I also submitted a post on the same theme: