Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Back Sliding into Christmas

Day 36 of 365 Tiny Changes

I have become what preachers, as far back as preachers have existed, have railed against.  I am the person that preachers stand in the midst of their flocks and gravely warn against.  Yes, I am a back slider. 

I have written 35 blog entries that name 35 different tiny changes that I have promised to make to my behavior in the effort to become a better, more productive, more giving person.  All written with the intention of following through with the changes for the long term.  My intentions were true and clear at the time of the entries.  Then, I fell off my wagon of change.

It wasn’t a slow slide to the edge of the wagon, all the while holding on, slowly slipping, slipping,one finger at at time, hoping to be rescued, until, alas, in the end, there was no hope, and I just let go, to be sucked back into the past and the way things used to be.  This is the kind of back sliding that is somewhat expected when attempting life style changes and is totally accepted.

It was more like, I’m riding along safe and secure, in the middle of the wagon, looking at a bright future of change ahead, and then I hit an unexpected bump, and am thrown out of the wagon right on my head, and instantaneously have amnesia and completely forgot I had made any changes at all.  That is the serious, what the hell happened, kind of back sliding.

The bump?  Christmas!

Now, I’m not saying Christmas is evil, or anything as drastic as that.  I am saying the way I choose to prepare for Christmas could do with a little tweaking.  OK, a lot of tweaking.

It started with the procrastinating.  I know, I know, I wrote a blog entitled “NO MORE PROCRASTINATING”.  I should have taken my own advise.  Not doing so, was the beginning of my great back slide.

I waited until the week before the big day to do most of my shopping.  We didn’t get the tree up until 2 days before Christmas.  I didn’t have all of my gifts wrapped until 2 days before, and on Christmas Eve, we’re scrubbing down toilets at the last minute before our children arrived.

This whole experience was in direct contrast to my intentions of creating a more organized, well planned, day and life.  In order to accomplish Christmas in a week, I threw all of my tiny changes out the window and focused solely on Christmas preparations.

I don’t believe this is what the idea of Christmas is really all about.  I think Christmas is about ushering in change.  The heart of the Christian religion is about the new way of living that Jesus preached.  A celebration of his birth is a celebration of the good changes coming in the near future.  The fact that I chose to thrust aside my good changes  to prepare for this celebration, is a fact dripping with irony.

When we arrived home the evening of Christmas, after spending  a long, long day with family, Guy and I sat down and had a chat.

We decided that there had to be a better way to “do Christmas”.

Together, we came up with a plan. 

Beginning in January, we are celebrating birthdays.  We are taking the money we would spend on a Christmas gift and combining it with the money we would have spent on a birthday gift and celebrating in a more individual way.  The birth of YOU is something worth celebrating.  We have a big family, so we are looking forward to the continuous celebrating. 

As the story goes, the original Christmas was a very intimate event, with just Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, and possibly a few random barn animals.  The guests and the gifts arrived later.  Guy and I would like to attempt to capture this same intimacy. Next Christmas, we are going to hold an open house event early in December, and then we are leaving town.  Just the 2 of us, to celebrate in what ever way we feel up to on the special day.

Our hope is that by “doing Christmas” this way, we will avoid the hustle and bustle, and the headaches and backaches, to really enjoy the holiday season.

Tiny Change 36:  Celebrate birthdays of individual family and friends.

Are there changes you need to consider making to the way you prepare for your holidays?

Best Regards,


Tiny Blessing for the Day:  I am blessed to have my daughter home from Paraguay, save and sound for the holidays.

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