Monday, December 12, 2011

Holiday Cheer Without the Controversy!

Me and two of my besties and family
holiday party having a good old time!
With the impending Christmas holiday and the past Thanksgiving holiday, I have been in such a wonderful and excited mood! Yes, I’m generally always in a good mood bc I don’t have the space for miserable. Sorry. I discovered a long time ago that your attitude, your perception, and your reaction are all your choices and I choose positive! Anyways, when the holiday season ushers in I find myself that much more excited! With all the happiness and holiday cheer in the air I got to thinking about what exactly about the holiday season makes me so happy and why has the holiday season in recent years become better and better??  Simple answer:  family, friends, fun, love, loyalty and purpose.  That's what it boils down to.  I love my family and I love my friends and it makes me happy to see them happy and spend time with them.  They can irritate you and frustrate you, but at the end of the day they are what you have.  Not to mention, a complete stranger can cause the same level of irritation and frustration, so if it's inherent in the ordinary custom of living life, then you might as well deal with the irritation that comes from those you love the most.  As I've gotten older I've found it's easier to deal with the disappointment and frustration that sometimes comes out of relationships with the people you love.  Everything is not always that serious or worthy of a knockdown drag out fight and complete falling out.  Agree to disagree or learn to deal differently.  Often times a simple time out or moderation in  the type of interaction you choose to have with certain family members or friends who regularly push your buttons is all that it takes.  My oldest sister, for example, use to drive me crazy on a regular basis.  We would go hard in love for a good 2 months and then she would instantly start tripping and I'd be on the verge of wanting to smash her face in (yes, I'm being dramatic but you get it).  The more she would go through these emotions the more I would get pissed.  Then about a year and a half ago I decided that I was partially responsible for her behavior because I would go through the same things with her knowing the likely conclusion.  I just stopped dealing with her the same way but I didn't hold on to any resentment or frustration  b/c it didn't make or break me and b/c she is my sister and I love her.  I started dealing with her at a distance but I loved her just the same, except for there was more peace and more love.  We could get together for the holidays and play games, eat good food, watch funny movies and love and laugh and enjoy one another without any issues or expectations, except for the expectation of love and loyalty.  When I hear stories about people who were the best of friends for decades or family members who say they haven't spoke in years or are no longer friends but instead enemies over nothingness it's sort of mind blowing.  I couldn't imagine not speaking to my family never ever?? Now, there are a few old friends that are no longer friends of mine b/c of significant issues (note, there is a difference between significant and insignificant) but there is no beef or animosity from me, and that includes the ones that literally crossed me.  I just made a conscious decision that certain people have a different idea of what friendship means than what I do and therefore, we were no longer compatible. There's no controversy in that.  They may have some conflict but I most certainly don't.  I just have found that the holidays are the times when you get to share a little extra love, well planned gifts, and better memories!  Why would you want to be in a negative space or so emotionally far away from people you love during a time like that??     

More pics and discussion after the break>>>>

Lots of holiday cheer! LOL. 
There is also the ever present and persistent controversy surrounding the purposes of certain holidays and Thanksgiving and Christmas are big on the list.  The controversy in these holidays typically come from the origin and circumstances surrounding the holiday. With Thanksgiving, the devastation and mistreatment of the Native Americans always resurfaces and the question is asked "why are we celebrating one of the most heinous acts in American history?"  But the reality is we aren't celebrating that!  We don't sit down for dinner and say "thank God Christopher Columbus pretended to discover America and slaughtered the Native Americans that were already here."  Obviously, we should not forget what happened or fail to educate our children about the real history of Native Americans.  But what has come out of it is that we now have a day where we can come together, eat and celebrate family and love and reflect on what we are most grateful and happy for.  I honestly don't see the controversy in that.  In fact, we should do it more often!  I recently listened to a Joyce Meyer lesson where she talked about how people waste so much energy and anger being mad about trivial things or creating a controversy over nothingness. How there is so much divide and embattlement over things that aren't worthy.  I couldn't agree more.  The same goes with the origin of Christmas, which has to do with the celebration of the birth of baby Jesus.  Christmas always sparks the great Christian debate (usually instigated and facilitated by non-Christians) of whether or not it is consistent with Christian belief to celebrate a holiday where a big, fat, white jolly man with a snow white beard dropping off presents to all the little boys or girls is the center of attention (rather than Jesus); or whether its appropriate to celebrate by going broke and exchanging a bunch of material things; or if that day is even Jesus' actual birthday.  Again, a bunch of debate and controversy over nothingness.  No one is worshipping or believing in Santa Claus.  He is a mystical made up character (just like the tooth fairy and the likes) used as a reoccurring face during a traditional time of the year when family and friends get together and surprise one another with gifts and have a good time.  It's really not that deep.  Whether or not December 25th is Jesus' actual birthday is also equally insignificant?? What difference does that really make in the grand scheme of things or the foundation of the Christian belief? NONE.  I mean my birthday falls on the same day every year, but yet I celebrate at different times, however, it doesn't change the fact that I was born and I'm here and celebrate that on an annual basis.  The point is, the separation, divide and conflict is for no reason and there is no real harm in setting a day on an annual basis where you celebrate and love one another.  Obviously, you want to be responsible and reflective on what the ultimate motivation to the holiday is but to get caught up in the controversy is a waste of an opportunity to have a good time and spend time with your love ones.  

My favorite cousin,
Phillip L. Costango.
Gone but never forgotten.
The power of memories.
In preparation for the Christmas holiday, I had the luxury, the opportunity, the sheer joy (and all that similar jargon) of spending time with some of the most important people in my life this past weekend and I had wayyyyyy too much fun doing it.  I wouldn't trade that for anything.  For Thanksgiving, I ate like a little pig and went down memory lane thinking of my younger cousin and reflecting on memories with him.  He was murdered in June of this year and his birthday fell on Thanksgiving day, November 24th.  We also played games, watched movies and laughed the hardest I laughed all year!  If the holidays reaffirm and strengthen bonds, create happy memories, give you an opportunity to bless others, and appreciate the love you have for your friends and family then I say cheers cheers... I'll drink to that!! No need to bicker or fight over any tradition that promotes fun, love, family and togetherness.  Enjoy your holiday b/c I most certainly will!! 

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