I must admit that although it has been increasingly hard to celebrate the holidays in recent years, I love Christmas. I love Christmas because my mom loves Christmas and always makes the home and environment so warm and loving. Most of my love for this holiday comes from childhood traditions like helping my mom make cookies from scratch while The Christmas Song by Nat King Cole played in the background, or watching A Muppet Christmas Carol on Christmas eve while my mom reminisced on the first time she took me to the movies to see that exact film. But lately it’s different.
Of course there’s the pressure to spend “enough money” on each person, and getting the decorations up in a timely manner that sometimes feels more like routine than holiday joy, but for me it’s deeper than that. This world is so ass backwards right now that I almost, no actually I do, feel guilty for taking time to be mindlessly in the holiday spirit. Like, how dare I take the time to put up a dumb ass pine tree in my living room while there’s still children separated from their parents at the border. How dare I spend money at giant corporations (that undoubtedly profit from both consumerism and white supremacy) while Flint, Michigan STILL DOESN’T HAVE CLEAN WATER!
Honestly, the wonder and magic that once was the most wonderful time of the year has disappeared in this bizarre political nightmare but there is just something about this holiday that I cannot let go of. I’m not going to get into the history of Christmas in this post, but just know it has nothing to do with the birth of Jesus, nor was it ever a Christian holiday. This fact among others listed above has made me really sit back and reflect on what Christmas means to me and how I can redefine it to represent something more for my family.
Through the last few years I’ve been trying to incorporate more cultural relevance into the colonized Christmas traditions we know and love today. For starters, two years ago I began buying gifts from all black owned businesses and this year I will continue the tradition. I am also making a point to give more gifts that include my time and attention instead of things. A good friend once told me to give gifts that add to ones quality of life and that really resonated.
While buying and supporting black businesses during the holidays is so necessary, so is a budget. I also started using a very inflexible Christmas budget based on what I can afford. In reality, you can give quality gifts without breaking the bank and you’re not obligated to fall into the mindless consumption that Christmas can sometimes turn in to. Whether it be an over-all spending limit or a per person limit, budget it out and stick to it.
These aren’t all the changes that I plan to make to redefine Christmas. The ultimate goal is to use this season (not exclusively, but especially) to enhance others quality of life through time, understanding, and empathy. Nonetheless, I think this is a good start to having a more impactful and fulfilling holiday season. I still plan to use that fulfillment by pouring it into my community during the rest of the year, just like all the good Christmas movies have taught us. My hope is to keep improving every year so that by the time I leave this earth, Christmas will have even more meaning to my family than it did to me when I was growing up.
Cream Bell Sleeve Shirt- Ashley Stewart
Cranberry High Waisted Pants- Forever 21+
Gold Chain Link Belt- Ashley Stewart
Gold Glitter Pumps- DSW
Ankh Ring and Earrings- Amazon