Christmas with Presence

We love Christmas. Who doesn’t right? It’s the time of miracles, selflessness and on the other side greed and materialism. This year for Christmas we decided not to participate in the consumerism and instead we focused on being together since making time is invaluable.

What we found was, even though we didn’t exchange gifts we still felt compelled to make cookies. In my family cookies were kourabiethes and kourouriakia, finikia and sometimes we’d have chocolate chip. If you are wondering what these are, they are variations of butter/ sugar traditional Greek cookies. All my family members would bring these cookies, and at my grandmothers house it was clear by the size and shape of each cookie, who made what. Those cookies have never been my favorite, I like to have one with coffee but not a whole tray. The point wasn’t the cookie, it was the act of spending the time baking these time consuming gifts. So even though they took a lot of time we decided to keep the cookies in the mix this year. I have 3rd generation Greek beliefs, so while I keep the tradition, I don’t make the same cookies (my mom does those). I make more American cookies…

Side note: This was the only failed attempt but pretty funny since I added 16 x the molasses than what the recipe called for…

My immediate family has always supported the idea of gift giving being a way to show love, which as I get older I find less appealing… but I play along. When my extended family started traveling together in lieu of gift giving I was instantly intrigued. My mom, not so much… I guess not everyone has the capacity to just be still with their emotions, in my case, I’ve grown into that. My dad was one of those quiet 1950’s types that gave you feedback liked ‘good job’ and ascribed his feelings to the best greeting card description “love dad”. Which in my situation worked out, it wasn’t the sitcom- lesson-teaching, deep conversation type but he was who he was. Mom has the same stoic style, gifts mean more to her because she ascribes they are an extension of her feelings. So any gift given, is more than just a gift… usually… ultimately the no gift rule was shot down for her, but everyone else agreed. Save your money, let’s get together was our take on Christmas.

Money, gifts and greeting cards took the place of emotions, it took the place of being together and it mostly just reinforced the idea that “as long as you have money you’ll be happy”.

Well it isn’t totally false, money does help in life, but Christmas is proof that money doesn’t foster miracles, they are beyond our control. I’m not sure who told everyone a star would lead them to a king but hey, good job!

I do not denigrate extreme decorating however, that is just pure joy. I know some people don’t like to decorate but for me, it’s everything. I feel like the season necessities include a tree, and lights but I find joy in the process, where others find tangled lights and aggravation.. to each his own.

As the world continues to become a more complicated place I find peace in hallmark movies, decorating, happy endings and giving back. We did a lot of good this year, and we’re proud to be able to help people less fortunate but what’s under valued is normal kindness. There are people in the world that over time realize the failure in their ways. For many, they stay on track to work for all the things and build this life into what they want but fail to take the time to enjoy it. It’s as if they lose sight of why they wanted it in the first place.

Look, Walter White started out with good intentions cooking Meth for his family to live comfortably, but failed to see all the people he’d hurt, including himself and ultimately it was the greed that ruined his life. That was an aggressive example, but just listen, be kind, and be present this holiday season. Don’t cook meth, make cookies!

Life isn’t flimsy, it ebbs and flows and we have things, we don’t have things, we get them, we get sick of them… You know what you can’t get sick of? Being together. You’ll never have buyers remorse for the time you spent with your family or friends. You’ll only ever wish there was more. Cherish the time, don’t run ragged trying to get everyone a stupid scarf, sweater or scented candle, instead rest and be with the people who love you. Remember your fondest memories and recall all the gifts you wanted and had to have as a kid? How many can you remember? Maybe one or two… think about it.

Happy Holidays and May your days be Meowy and Bright, from our family to yours!

And careful in the kitchen… mollasses should only be used sparingly (haha)!

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