No.

To quote Hamlet, act 3, scene 3, line 87

We are on the cusp of a consumer crazy season. Of crackers with plastic and wrappings that nobody wants, that are often abandoned on the table long after the plates have been clearer away. Perhaps of saying thank you for gifts that lack thoughts, need or joy.

I know this post isn’t my usual sparkly positive self. Don’t despair, I’m about to flip it around but before I do I want to empower you with the word No. (As a Teacher and a Mum I feel Hamlet needs to add the words ‘thank you’ after his quote). Balance in life is crucial for physical and mental wellbeing. I’ve written many posts about ‘yes’ – to opportunities, change and adventure that so many of us hide from in daily life. I’m a fan honestly.

However, December seems to bring excess and anxiety for things we don’t want to do.

If you feel at all doubtful, listen to your instinct and say No.

  • Say No to buying gifts for that awkward Aunt or Uncle that you feel obliged to because they buy for you. It only takes a quick awkward phone call to release everyone of this burden for many Christmas’s to come
  • You don’t need to eat everything you’re offered
  • you can say no to sprouts.
  • You don’t need to attend that party that makes you feel anxious.
  • You don’t have to wear anything you don’t want to. I am the proud owner of zero Christmas jumpers.
  • Christmas doesn’t mean ‘spend money you don’t have’ say No.

Make sure the traditions you and your family participate in bring joy, love and a sense of fun…not awkward social events. Don’t become one of the three kings that bought guilt, anxiety and fear. Many of the innkeepers said No and it led to a way cooler version of Christmas. Baby Jesus born in a stable gathered by animals is all the better for its simplicity.

Saying No doesn’t need to be negative, it’s in fact a tool that can bring a huge amount of joy and relief. Balance is where joy and happiness can be fully embraced. This holiday season say yes to things that make you warm and smile, politely decline things your instinct tells you will add stress, keep the holiday season simple and stay present in all you do. It’s a recipe for the perfect Christmas.

Advertisements

Be happy, it drives people crazy.

Anon

Despite the fact it’s still November consumerism seems to be taking hold of the nation/globe following Black Friday…the Friday sale that lasts a fortnight. Christmas chatter has taken over many blog posts and is the topic of conversation in our staffroom. Panic sweeps the nation. And I stay firm. I will not get swept into a frenzy on what I’m doing, got to do or who I haven’t bought for (the answer is nobody yet). There is plenty of time. However, I adore Christmas and refuse for it to become a burden. I stand firm in a smile. When asked how I feel about ‘all the catering’ I reply with a smile and say it’s an honour to have family to feed. I am not a saint but I know one thing to be true. Being happy really does drive other people  nuts. “Ohhh I don’t know how you can be so relaxed, I ordered the Turkey in June” hehe…yup and I was busy enjoying the start of summer.

It also means that for the people I dislike, hate and wish would disappear I increase my sparkle, smiles and graces – why? Because it pisses them off and reflects the stress and chaos back at them. I will not absorb negativity from them. It’s my super power and a skill that you should consider as a New Years resolution – forget weight loss, make 2018 the year you choose to be happy.

I choose happy because it makes me happy, it makes others happy and it’s contagious.

Christmas Day will come and go whether I stress or not. The dust will gather again from the moment I flick the duster, the bills will get paid and all those tasks on the ‘to do list’ will eventually be over taken with other tasks and thousands of other ‘to do lists’ but for now I am blissfully happy drinking a hot cup of tea after an intense yoga session, and for now and for always ‘I choose happy’ (and tea) (same thing)

Have you ever picked positivity as a power to piss others off?

Zoe’s Christmas wish 

I hope the festive season is all that you hoped for, that santa was kind and loved ones (where possible) were near. I have a story that I’d like to share, it’s my interpretation of what Christmas means and it doesn’t involve a Mary, or a donkey – it does however involve an awesome thirteen year old called Zoe and some light up Polar Bears. 

Let’s set the scene…it’s mid December and just before the real FC jumps in his sleigh and works some serious overtime the wonderful local Lions charity come around our village with a santa representative on a sleigh (back of a van) with loud music, lights and elves that collect change but also give the children gifts. Last year my little man adored it but sadly for all sorts of reasons the event wasn’t happening this year. 

Enter the heroine of this story, Zoe. I’ve never met Zoe but I have read Facebook messages from her mum on our village page. Zoe has the gift of Autism which means traditions are sacred to her daily structure and the Lions charity event formed part of her Christmas preparations. However it wasn’t the disruption to herself that was the cause of her angst, she was devastated that the children in our village would miss out…

In her words: ‘the children won’t get flutterbys (excited) if santa doesn’t come or give an early present. Mummy can we make a grotto in our garden? I will buy the presents myself with my pocket money and the children can come here to get flutterbys…I don’t want the children to be sad.’

Zoe took her own pocket money and bought lots of toys, she wrapped them and then a few days before Christmas, she (via her Mum on the Facebook page) invited the children of the village to her front garden, lights ( some seriously cute polar bears), sweets and a gifts were on offer and best of all (in my little mans eyes) a snow machine. 

Her Mum mean while was worried that nobody would attend. We did and so did many others. Unfortunately we arrived too early to meet Zoe as she was overwhelmed by the people and the noises and stayed in her room, popping in and out when she could. For Zoe the event that was a few hours in length caused sleepless nights and an abundance of anxiety. However, an update on the Facebook site later that evening thanking everyone for coming and mentioned that she did come down, stayed and even spoke to some people. That’s seriously courageous. 

I’m blessed to work with teenagers aged eleven to sixteen and they often have a bad reputation. I’ve also worked with Autistic children for most of my working life. The behaviour issues and negativity of the condition are well known rather than the potential they offer. At a time when people are consumed by wants and desires;  Zoe made the choice to give to complete strangers, she has taught my family about love, compassion and giving which is what the season is really about, isn’t it? 

The event also meant that Zoe had to defeat the constraints that Autism can have in order to be part of the event, she was resilient and in my  opinion brave. For one evening she over came the fear, the sensory overload and she won. She won my heart and she taught me and my son the true meaning of Christmas. 

*Thank you to Zoe and her Mum for letting me share this tale with you all. 

Need and want…

 This quote comes in many variations and has been used in a variety of contexts.

When this popped up on my fridge I found it ironic – seriously December is a month of indulging, luxury and pleasure for most. However, after some thought it made sense and I realised its timing was perfect.

A reflection on Christmas gone by reminds me of family traditions and memories made…I don’t remember many of  the gifts – just the thoughtful ones, and the board games and laughter…and I need them.

My son is bombarded with questions of what he ‘wants’ and at two and a half it changes daily and is often whimsical and without thought. He has all he ‘needs’ and although we will indulge and create memories as a family I know that this is what counts and what we will all remember.

Now before I re title this post ‘bah-humbug’ I should probably confess to over spending on loved ones, I’m definetly planning on over eating (ohhh I love a buffet) and trimmings will be purchased and admired – crackers, napkins, twinkly lights, the tinsel is up and the tree looks awesome, presents will be wrapped with precision and love…and glitter gel pens! 🙂

My fine line: I will remind myself that it is just one day, that I am blessed and that after the day I am still blessed. We will go for a walk on Christmas Eve and absorb the colourful lights and snuggle indoors to a cheeky drink of something that warms the soul (for once probably not tea) and watch the same film we watch every Christmas Eve…the indulgence of family and the luxury of time, balance is what makes my fine line.