Slow Christmas for 2021

Maybe it’s true that as you age you want peace more than the hassle and stress of Christmas rush within family, relatives and friends. As you grow older, you think of just staying at the comfort of your home, spending Christmas time with your loved ones and just enjoy the day without worrying about the traffic coming to and fro your inlaws or your family. You spend quiet time for yourself having just simple food at your table, you enjoy watching your favorite show or playing with the kids at home, you don’t need to dress up or feel the need to wrap Christmas presents for everyone just because you need to. But because you only do what you feel like doing during this festive season of the year.

When we got our new home, I told my husband that I wanted to spend Christmas and New Year only at our home with our family. Or we can just visit a few hours on Christmas day but spend most of the time at home. 2 years ago that was the plan. Until Covid19 came and we had a limited gathering last year, I decided to switch from the Filipino Christmas norm to what I really want to do on Christmas Day. I don’t overspend money by giving ampao to everyone just because it is Christmas. I don’t buy new clothes for Christmas Day. I only ordered food for us and not expecting any visitors because we didn't really want to be exposed to anybody. I spent the entire day only at home and skipped the yearly inlaws gathering during Christmas Day. I managed to do that last 2020. 

And now in 2021, I even make it slower than usual. We slept late on Christmas eve and had a heart to heart talk with my daughter. We wake up late and savor Christmas morning just as a regular day. We ate lunch together and played some games too. I blocked all calls because I don’t want to be stressed today more than ever. I really wanted a quiet Christmas day, away from the norms of the many. 

Before, I had to buy gifts or ask a friend to change new bills to be given to nieces, inaanak, and some relatives. We have to buy clothes to be worn on Christmas day. We have to go visit 2 families in one day. The hassle and the time consumed for the whole day gave me happiness for a couple of hours but I ended up tired at night. Then one day, I read a facebook story of one of my friends. It is just about their “not celebrating Christmas” and for the last 2 years I started to question why do Catholics really celebrate Christmas? Is it mandatory to follow the tradition we grew up onto? Or can I start normalizing the idea of a simple Christmas at home and not insist on family gatherings or spending Christmas time with other people I don’t really want to be with during that time of the year? I started watching Youtube over this matter, and read blogs on how other families are celebrating their Christmas day so far. And I ended up starting our own Slow Christmas. At the end of the day, we are both happy because we got to spend the Christmas tradition on our terms, on our way and in fact much enjoyed Christmas day.

Maybe I can practice Slow New Year also. New Year can also be stressful for my daughter because of her sensitivity over fireworks. As for me, I just want to watch the fireworks display at the window, eat some good food for my soul, greet those family, relatives and friends who greeted us, and that’s it! Simple holidays for this year. Being grateful and thankful can be not so grand after all, we should just be thankful that despite the odds and Covid-19 pandemic, we are still alive!

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