Stepping back at Christmas

“In the name of the best within you, do not sacrifice this world to those who are at its worst. In the name of the values that keep you alive, do not let your vision of people be distorted by the ugly, the cowardly, the mindless of those who have never achieved integrity. Do not lose your knowledge that our proper estate is an upright posture, an intransigent mind and a step that travels unlimited roads.  Ayn Rand

Christmas has been traditionally in our household, a time of roast turkey dinner; Christmas tree and a houseful of decorations; presents opened on both Christmas day as well as Boxing Day (* see note at the end as to its meaning) and the girls working at the horse yard on Christmas morning.

This year was slightly different; for the first time ever, we were not going to be celebrating at home as a family, but we were invited to our neighbours for the traditional Christmas meal.

It felt strange not having to prepare the basics of the meal. Cooking the turkey the night before and allowing it to cool before separating all of the meat into different parcels and placing the remaining carcass into the soup pan. Yes, one of the extra chores over the period is the making of the turkey soup to be consumed leading up to New Year. Preparing the various veggies, chopping, dicing and peeling, before placing into the myriad of pans on the top of the cooker.  Finally, the laying out the dinner table ready for the big day with all of the table decorations. Most of these tasks I have done over many years on my own, as everyone gets ready for Christmas.

Additionally, for the past three years, I have not eaten meat, so it is a challenge to be involved with the traditional turkey dinner. I still help, as I do not wish to impose my beliefs on the rest of the family. This year, it was even more strange as we did not have to prepare anything for the main meal; rather we had to prepare and bring along a selection of deserts, which we duly did, to our neighbours.

It was our neighbours who prepared the turkey dinner, with all of the veggies and traditional extras (bread sauce, stuffing and the like). For my dinner, they had kindly cooked some fresh salmon, with lemon and dill.

I don’t know whether it was the level of stress at work, leading up the the festive holidays; or whether it was the change of routine; but this year felt really different.

How?

Strangely, more relaxed and tempered on my part.

I felt as if I had stepped back and allowed things to “flow”. Even with the normal angst on Christmas morning of the mountain of presents or the girls having to go to the yard, it all felt less important. Maybe, it was a series of guided mindfulness exercises I was helped with leading up to the day.

Or, maybe, just maybe, stepping back and allowing the moments to arrive; as they did over the festive days, and just enjoying each moment as it happened, was a new approach to Christmas.

I truly hope your festive season was one of joy, happiness, time with family, friends and loved ones. That you were able to take some time out for yourself; to reflect and to renew.

The next big event will soon be upon us, New Years eve. I have no idea what this year will bring, but will let it flow, whatever it is.

I leave you with the following quote.

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark, in the hopeless swamps of the approximate, the not-quite, the not-yet, the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish, in lonely frustration for the life you deserved, but have never been able to reach. Check your road and the nature of your battle. The world you desired can be won, it exists, it is real, it’s yours.” ― Ayn Rand

 

P.S. What is Boxing Day?

The origins of Boxing Day lie not in sport, but in small acts of kindness. I thought it was from a Victorian tradition of giving small presents in boxes out to servants and the poor on the day after Christmas. The following article from the Guardian newspaper gives some fascinating insight into some of its meaning.

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2016/dec/26/why-is-it-called-boxing-day

 

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