Every week, Preen tackles motherhood sans the rose-tinted glasses. Our columnists L. Juliano, Marla Darwin, Monica Eleazar-Manzano, and Rossana Unson tell their personal experiences like it is—at times frustrating, oftentimes confusing, but always enlightening.
Disclaimer: The views expressed here are solely those of the author in her private capacity and do not in any way represent the views of Preen.ph, or any other entity of the Inquirer Group of Companies.
“Decemblur” is usually a month filled with endless parties to celebrate the holidays with co-workers, friends, and relatives. During the busiest season of the year, it takes quite the extra energy for a mother like myself to create a sense of inner light in the home. I struggle with this as I suspect to have partial Seasonal Affective Disorder a.k.a. the “winter blues” during the darkest month of the year. I’ve always been affected by weather and season. I already consider myself lucky to be living in the tropics where we have sunshine all year round and in a country where hired help is still relatively available and affordable. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be able to do all the household chores when lethargy strikes. One of the symptoms of the winter blues!
Could it be that we cling so much to the magic of Christmas because we have lost its meaning due to being realists and even pessimists?
I fondly remember the excitement build up to Christmas day, and the painful wait until we could rip open all the presents laid out under the Christmas tree. Of course my siblings and I all believed in the mythical Santa (as most of our children do!) and imagined that we would catch him coming into our home. I recall fighting off sleep during simbang gabi and eat puto bumbong after mass. The jingles and carols all travel through the chilly air. All these yuletide memories bring nostalgia, and many times also, the ba-humbug feels.
Find meaning in this important season. Don’t get swayed by the materialistic push and pull of consumerism. Search for what advent and Christmas is to you and your family. For others, it is a time to rejoice the waiting and birth of Jesus Christ. For others, it is yet another passage of time into the darkest and coldest months where we turn in and recharge for winter. Whatever your belief is, it is a time to celebrate in your own meaningful way. To find your inner spark during the darkest time of the year, here are some suggestions you can do which work for me, annually since the time I “grew up.”
Don’t cram the gift-giving and decorating. But also don’t rush into it that it loses its novelty and special build-up which is what advent is all about!
Choose special traditions that your family can participate in. A tradition I have picked up from the Waldorf School my son is attending is telling the advent stories per day on the month of December. It depicts the plight of Mary and Joseph before the birth of Jesus. I love that the lighting of the real pine tree Christmas tree is only done the night before Christmas Day! I have yet to purchase a real pine tree for Christmas but I have made pure beeswax candles for lighting on Christmas Eve.
Be picky about who you give gifts to and make sure they are meaningful. Not just giving for the sake of giving! You need not break the bank, either. You can always make food or if you’re not such a star in the kitchen, try your hand at bath and body products. You can also give at a chosen charity in behalf of the recipient. To keep yourself in a festive mood, play jolly Christmas songs and teach your kids the lyrics as you sing along while making arts and crafts together. My personal annual favorite is the “Christmas Del Mar” which I play from YouTube.
Connect with a community. It helps to be part of something larger than yourself. When people get together, it does lift your spirits up. So, confirm on those party invites, dress up and make your presence felt. You’ll thank yourself for doing so despite the horrific traffic in the city during these times.
In your quiet moments of solitude, light a candle and contemplate on these words by Kathy Coffrey, “As the calendar approaches the darkest night, reflect on those who have brought you light. How have you yourself brought a glimmer of light into someone else’s darkness?”
I hope that you got some good insights and will make the next few weeks sincerely relevant to your inner life as well as your family.
Art by Dorothy Guya