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  • Writer's pictureBen Slater

Lessons from the Christmas I never had - Part 1

"323 ways to simplify Christmas!" proclaimed the cover of the magazine.

Wait- what?

I paused in the supermarket aisle, dumbfounded.

323 ways sounded more stressful than simple.

Then I made a resolution.

One way of definitely simplifying Christmas.

Not reading that magazine.

I never had the Christmas from the magazine.

I may never have a Christmas worthy of a magazine.

But I will always have a Christmas that means something to me.

And to the family.

Each year as a family we do some planning.

Each person lists the ways in which this next statement is true for them:

"It feels like Christmas when..."

Each person knows that at least one thing from their list will happen but not everything.

The list is often very simple and relatively inexpensive.

"A Black Forest Hot Chocolate."

"A new Christmas bandana for StanleyDog."

"A walk on the beach followed by hot fish and chips in the car."

"Watching 'Elf' together with the fire on."

"A Mario Kart Marathon Tournament - but Dad has to be Princess Peach."

"We have brandy-flavoured spray cream in the house."

"Building gingerbread houses."

"Chocolate advent calendars."

"Finding the most preposterous Christmas jumper for Dad."

"Christmas Books."

"Taking photos on a frosty walk."

The shift is very subtle.

Thinking about "It feels like Christmas when..."

moves us away from

"It's not Christmas without..."

We're moving away from thinking of Christmas as a deficit

that is impossible to perfectly fill

to thinking of Christmas as an opportunity

to experience again special moments that lift us up.

To walk through those good feelings, those good memories

and the good memories of others.

To truly walk in a winter wonderland...

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