Every year, Christmas comes. It’s almost like a hurricane. In November, we remember it’s coming. And oh my god, is it coming. Watch out, you better start getting ready, because it is coming and it is going to be big.
We spend months getting ready. This year, I bought my first Christmas present before Thanksgiving. That was a new thing. There’s so much build up. We stock up on supplies– food, candles, Kleenex. We rush around making sure everyone is accounted for and ready for this day that is going to be huge because we said it was going to be huge and we have been waiting and preparing and here it is.
And then it’s gone. I know for sure that I am addicted to excitement, so I get a huge rush from Christmas preparations. However, seeing the frenzy our culture is in during the holidays makes me think that I am not the only one addicted to excitement.
I wait, I hold my breath, I brace myself for the storm, but then it only drizzles. And it’s a pretty calm day. Family time goes well and everyone gets along and the big thing that I was waiting for doesn’t happen. Whatever that big thing was. I’m not sure I even knew in the first place.
Of course, opening presents and making jokes with family is fun, and the five-year-old part of me goes nuts over the pretty wrapping paper and surprise presents. Ultimately, the big finale never comes. That thing that I was preparing for never happens.
I have observed over the last few years that Christmas is the time of the year that I am the least mindful. I go crazy trying to predict what everyone is going to do and say, and what I am going to do and say in response. I have an action plan for every scenario. I rarely spend time in this moment, because I am preparing for the next one and preparing for the big thing that I convince myself is going to happen.
So this year, I decided to do my best to stay mindful. I wore a ring that I don’t wear often. Every time it caught my attention, I told myself, “here I am,” and I took a few deep breaths while observing my surroundings in that moment. I also wore my meditation beads and would fidget with them, counting ten beads while counting ten breaths.
Being aware of the moment helped me let go of any expectations I had that sone thing overly exciting was going to happen. I think the overly exciting thing is supposed to be Christmas Day in general. This year, I enjoyed the day more than I have in recent memory because most of what I focused on had to do with what was going on in that moment. And there were some wonderful moments throughout the day.