What is so magical about Christmas? In my family we all love Christmas very much. Undoubtedly it is our favourite holiday because is a time full of wonderful memories. In many countries the traditions are the same, but what I love about it is that each family takes on its own uniqueness.
What I remember most from my childhood was the excursion we used to make to pick up moss for the Nativity, the sound of the Christmas carols from the same old cassettes and the love of our parents preparing everything with their desire to prepare not only the house but also our hearts to receive Baby Jesus. For example, our parents taught us to prepare for Christmas with small acts of kindness. They would explain to us that is was like placing small straws in our hearts, so Jesus would find the manger more comfortable when he was born.
Traditions create a sense of belonging. Traditions are details that create a family style. It is like the family’s footprint. This “togetherness” becomes like a shield, a source of comfort and strength. This feeling is not only especially important when we are young but also when we become adults. We need to know that our family is there for us in the key moments of our lives. And in a family we are all responsible for keeping everyone close.
However, our lives are not always the fairy tales we were dreaming of. When I was five, my father passed away. For a family of seven children, from 19 to 2 years old, it was certainly not an easy time. My mother, who is a great woman, showed us by example that even if we all missed our father very much, we could still find joy in the holidays. She also used to tell us that he would prefer to see us happy. We kept celebrating Christmas as we always did and it gave us a sense of security: we still had each other. Traditions help create these invisible bonds.
As you may remember, three years ago the “mannequin challenge” was so viral that many families accepted the challenge. On the holidays thousands of families shared their videos on social media. The key was to remain frozen in action like mannequins while a moving camera filmed them. I do not know what the original goal for this video was but it can acquire a lot of meaning. This year my family did it again. When you are happy you would like time to freeze, to stop and enjoy the moment as long as possible. At least that is what I feel when I am in good company.
We hold onto holiday traditions because they add meaning to our celebrations. We did not just put up a Christmas tree, we put up the same Christmas tree on a fixed date when the family gathered together. Even bringing it from our aunt ́s garage was a special event. We would put the same ornaments, the same angels and we would sing Christmas carols we had heard for years. It’s about the experience, which gives you a warm, comforting feeling on the inside.
Our hearts have their own memory. Retrieving positive memories helps you to be thankful for elements of childhood or past blessings. It is like reliving those positive experiences again. Scientists have proved that people can benefit from remembering the overall sense of well-being that comes from being deeply happy because it can cause the release of dopamine, the feel-good neurotransmitter. As homemakers we collaborate to create a lot of happy memories at home.
This post is more personal than the previous ones but I needed to talk from my own experience. Whenever I remember all the happy memories I have from the Christmas holidays and time spent with my family, I feel really happy. And for me it is almost immediate this feeling of gratitude. I feel really lucky for the family that I have and for all the love I receive everyday.