Make time to appreciate the Holiday

4:37 PM

For those who celebrate Christmas, or any of the year end festivities, it is easy to find yourself sucked in through the wormhole and see December pass before your eyes before it even started.

I've been living this reality this year, and it is a bit crazy. I am not quite sure what made this year so challenging but here I am, a mere 10 days away from Christmas and feeling the heavy weight of stress pound me to a shred.
The Diwali break ended on November 26th and since then my life have been a succession of events, appointments, obligations, cooking and baking sprees, parties of all kind and not a single weekend free until Christmas...that bad.

In many a way it reminds my of Decembers of my Swiss past. The ones where you barely get to catch your breath at all. And, guess what? I don't like it, I never liked that part of the Christmas mayhem. The crazy part of it all is that, most of what kept me gagging for air these past few weeks is not even necessarily Christmas related. If you must know, most of it is school related, as they felt like inducing as much stress and frustration for parents in the 29 days that falls between the end of the Diwali break and the start of the Christmas break...THAT BAD! (Ask me another day about it, for now that is a very very sore topic)

In the midst of all that essence of pure madness, I finally sat down and decided to do the most sane thing one can do in such a situation :

Take a deep deep breath, eat a Brunsli and take a time out to re-think my Holiday priorities. As much as I love crafting and doing artsy stuff, I decided to slow down on that, and screw a solid amount of new recipes I wanted to try.
For the remaining of the month, I vow to spend as much quality time as I can with those I love. We may or may not do crafty things, or bake something fabulous, what matters most is that I get to relax and appreciate the season.

It's easy to loose focus in our media obsessed age. As much as I love browsing blogs and Pinterest for wonderful Christmas decor ideas myself, I'll be the first one to tell you not to let it go to your head. That is is OK to not have an entire house full of seasonal decor, and that your cookies do not need to be iced and sprinkled to perfection.

The other day, I decided to watch the second instalment of the Hunger Games saga (which I recorded on TV) and for some reason the line "Remember who the real enemy is" came back to me today only to have me thing :

"Remember what the real meaning of the Holiday is"

Yes, remember that it is a time to appreciate and savour and enjoy with your loved ones. Remember it is supposed to be fun and not a chore. Remember that it is all about spreading the cheer and spirit and share happiness with your world. Remember that its beauty lies in the simplicity. Remember the magic of your childhood, remember to be good to yourself.

This Christmas, I'll probably be found at home, with a very simple meal and a nice glass of wine as I put my feet up to watch a movie or read a book. Right now I am longing for this festive vortex to release me into the New Year.

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  1. Anonymous6:26 PM

    I totally understand that. You get so caught up in planning/attending parties doing a ton of baking decorating the house and the end you're left wondering what the heck did I even do in the holidays!?
    I don't know about all schools but as far as I know in most indian school means the second term is over and they too start getting ready for the hols. So shouldn't ishita be having vacation from 22 or 23rd?

    1. Yes the vacation starts on the 23rd, well the 24th, but on the 23rd they are having a field trip that will last 9 hours and for which they are asking me to fork 950 rupees, so I am not sending her. If it was just that trip fine, but they asked me to pay 800 rupees to rent an annual Day costume, and tomorrow the kids will have a total of 10 hours of school just so they can squeeze a dress reharsal in. With me having to pick her up from the school bus at 3.30, change her clothes and bring her back to school at 3.30pm (I need to work on that teleporter thingy asap!) so they can practice until 6pm. I had to cancel a small afternoon Christmas party for that thing. Last Saturday they wanted me to make her go through an extra full day of school for annual Day practice, which I refused because I had another event I paid for and could not cancel planned weeks in Advance. Her school is in the nasty habit to let us know 4-5 days in advance about an even at the most. As if parents have all the time in the world and have no life.
      There have been other school related sore points in the past few weeks that is making me want to switch school next year. So yeah since December started, not a single weekend have been free of anything. I am just finding myself gasping for air.

  2. Well, it's BIG FAT DESI WEDDING SEASON so I'm not going to celebrate Xmas. Rather, I shall be flitting about the Subcontinent in glamorous attire attending various matrimonial ceremonies. I hope the Delhi air doesn't kill me.
    Happy Holidays to you & yours, Cyn!

    1. Wow enjoy! and I really hope the air is not that polluted in Delhi, though I heard from friends that it is as bad as usual :-(

    2. Anonymous1:09 PM

      It is the same here. My son's school has asked for Rs.1100/- for annual day dress and asked him to come to school on holiday. it is funny how all schools follow the same routine. After asking for a hefty fee they should buy the dress themselves. It was the same when I used to study in similar public schools but then activities were limited and their imagination was not so fertile. That was "socilalist India".

      As far a Delhi's pollution is concerned, the Delhi Government has hit upon a unique scheme. There are simply too many cars in delhi. Their number is more than the total number of cars in other cities put together. Starting this Janury, only cars with even number would be allowed to ply on even number days and odd numbered cars on odd number days. Moreover, there is a ban of three months on registration of diesel vehicles. This even odd scheme is for fifteen days on experimental basis. This has been borrowed from China where the "stick" works because it is a totalitarian regime. Here things are different. Those who can afford would simply buy another car with even or odd number.

      Now, the burden would be on the buses and metro and ofcourse the infamous delhi autos. Firteen years ago when transition from Petrol to CNG was made, there was chaos. Now, we hope to see something similar happening.

      There various causes for pollution in delhi from contruction actity, burning waste to vehicles. There is no one way of contolling it.


    3. I don't see this system working in India at all. It's too easy to bribe the authorities to get away with driving your odd numbered car on an even numbered day if you are well off enough. The only way to put an end to the traffic pollution is to make public transports so efficient and affordable than people would think twice about taking the car anywhere. That means more metro lines, and more and better planned bus lines. And of course regulate construction sites they create a lot of dust and mess. The menace should not just be tackled just one way indeed.

      Growing up, the special events in schools meant we would use the art and craft class to make our own costumes. It was simple, really un-fancy but at least no extra costs fell on the parents and all practice sessions happened during school hours. Sports day was a whole day long, no parents allowed, they would send us to school as usual but with a packed lunch instead of picking us up at 11am for the lunch break. We would go to the district's community sports ground and the teachers were in charge of their own kids the whole day long. The annual day happened at the end of the school year and that was it. Field trips during the years were financed by the school with the money allotted to them by the State since the school is a government institution in Switzerland.
      I know a school near me that doesn't charge anything extra for any of the trips and activities they do, the school tuition fee is higher though, but at least parents have total peace of mind knowing they won't have to run around to find special items for special days or be asked to ask a ridiculous sum of money to rent an annual day costume.

  3. Anonymous10:17 PM

    Hey Cyn, you're so right the true spirit of Christmas is all about having a nice time together with your loved ones.

    As a mother of 3, I know what you mean about schools issues. Over here in France, they close the 1st term end of november, which means the kids have to work hard in december when they are exhausted... We say this is a modern age but chronobiology is still seen as weird, so annoying...

    Have a nice holiday ! Pad

    1. I remember it was the same in Switzerland for us, the first term ended by November end. Which for "Lycee" going students is just plain old taxing and exhausting

  4. I really tried to limit the amount of time I spent on my phone this holiday, so I could be in the moment more and appreciate everyone around me. I wasn't as successful as I wanted to be, but it certainly helped. It was just sad to see moments where all the family in the room was on their phones instead of talking. Next year I might try turning my phone on airplane mode all of Christmas Day!

    1. Like you I decided to spend less time on my phone this year. It dawned on me this Christmas. I live quite far from my family, and we usually call each other on Christmas, or rather Skype. This year, I found myself texting my mom not to call me because my husband, daughter and I went to enjoy a movie. In the old days, she would have called, nobody would have picked up and we would have left it at that. But in our modern time, she would have freaked out and worried at my not picking up the phone. This is the curse of the mobile phone : being available 24/7 wether we want it or not.

      This year I also took a lot less pictures, I took time to enjoy the moment instead.

      I LOVE the idea of turning the phone in airplane mode next Christmas, I might give it a try.


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