The real experience of Christmas – why do we do it to ourselves?

Post by Laurainne Marshall for the Kind Kindred series.

photo courtesy of NBCnews

Christmas decorations now hit the shops in September, no doubt one of the most lucrative times of the year for shops. And if you were to believe the glossy magazines and happy TV shows, Christmas is filled with all that is gold. Perfect family moments where no one has the sweat running from the brow courtesy of running from pillar to post and more importantly…………family members all get along.When I grew up, even though I was lucky enough to be in a household that really did enjoy Christmas in the true sense, I still remember spending most of it in the car, rushing from one place to the next and ending up in such a food coma that I couldn’t move and felt too sick to enjoy 25th night. Why do we do it to ourselves?

For many years now, and probably at the risk of upsetting many, I have placed the importance on my little family of 4. As you read my articles they will make mention. I adore them and they are where all life starts for me, every experience and every breath. We have built a solid family unit.

My experience of Christmas this year so far hasn’t been what is shown in those glossy magazines. You see in my experience, family doesn’t get along perfectly.

My Dad was a wise man, and I get my need to help people learn from my mistakes from him. Although extended family was important to him, he always maintained that you needed to look after yourself first, particularly at Christmas time. I remember one year, as I sat and made these little egg canapés shaped like chickens (yes bow ties and all) he said to me “I believe Christmas is a beautiful time of the year and we should always look after our loved ones, but never put yourself last. Celebrate you and your little family first”

We miss loved ones this time of year, and this year, more than ever, I have found myself missing my Dad more and more. He had such a grasp on how to get through Christmas in one piece. You see this year I placed boundaries around myself and my little family of 4, not to hurt but to protect. That old saying that we can never choose our family is ringing through this year, and for me it was about looking after us. This time of year just seems to make existing family rifts worse.

I am not saying go out and get rid of family….what I am saying is don’t put yourself last because you will end up miserable and no good to anyone.

I will never understand why we make people that obviously don’t get along be together in one place because it is Christmas!

So how will I celebrate Christmas this year? Well……..

On the 20th we spent Christmas with my best friend and her family. She has been a constant in our lives and my kids’ lives. That one person accepts me for me and loves my kids like they were their own. It was easy – lots of laughs and reminiscing while 80s songs blared in the background. See how easy Christmas can be? 🙂

23rd and 24th night is for my little family of 4. We will drink hot chocolate and open special presents made for each night. We will celebrate us and all that is good in our lives. We have much of that for which I am grateful. Again easy and simple and soul quenching too, I might add. Perfect family time with my little family of 4.

25th night this year is a special one, because I will be celebrating with my brother. We haven’t spent it together in many, many years. My mum will be there, and my beautiful Friends/neighbors. I won’t spend hours in the kitchen – that’s for the birds. I will find simple and tasty dishes that I can cook quickly because Christmas is not about spending it in the kitchen away from loved ones. There won’t be so much food that we end up unable to get off the floor either. And this is where the hard part comes…..we have mutually decided that it is better to be apart from feuding family issues. (Both parties agreed in fact.)

It comes down to this: Make life simple for yourselves and remember putting you last only encourages disaster. It’s about respecting yourself all through the year, and Christmas should be no different than any other time.

Namaste my friends

May your journey be kind to you and filled with beautiful moments.


Laurainne Marshall (AKA LO) lives in Sydney, Australia with her 2 kids, Hayley and Jamie and her soul mate of nearly 25 years Graham. Their furbaby is a beautiful Labradoodle named Amber. Laurainne has many roles, Wife, Mother, Teacher and Musician. She believes that life is to be lived at full throttle and is deeply spiritual. Her motto in life “Grab life and run”. She also believes one person can make a difference in this world and hopes that by sharing her life experiences, she might inspire a few people along the way.

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