What Does Christmas Mean To You

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Using my five senses, certain triggers would always bring me back to my childhood, celebrating Christmas with my family. For example, the smell of cinnamon, or the flickering lights on the Christmas tree, or the rustling sound of wrapping paper, and so on. Back then, Christmas was always spent with the family, enjoying my mum’s cooking, opening presents, and playing with the people I love.

Over the past few decades, Christmas has been largely commercialised and is now seen as an occasion to spend money and buy expensive presents or other irrelevant things. I think we have all forgotten its true meaning and purpose. And remembering what it truly should mean might bring us all closer together.

I believe that regardless of your race, religion, nationality, or beliefs Christmas is always spent with the people you love and appreciate – may it be your family, partner, friends, or even co-workers. For me, it’s a time to remember I’m not alone and to enjoy the presence of those people in my life.

The past couple of years, I’ve been celebrating Christmas with my child, so the holiday has gotten a whole new meaning for me. It has inspired me to see everything from a different point of view. Unfortunately, I can see that for most adults, Christmas is overshadowed by commercialism and the trending culture of consumerism. However, if I pause and focus on my child for a moment, I see a completely different perception of life as it is. Children have no notion of money; they show genuine happiness and excitement, you can see how pure and selfless their experience of Christmas is. They try to make you laugh, they invite you to play with them, they do not hesitate to eat just one more piece of cake if they feel like it.

So, this year I have decided to reflect on what’s truly important to me in my life. I have decided to appreciate the people in my life more and acknowledge the way their presence in my life affects me and vice versa. I am a family-oriented person, but I have to admit that there were times when I blindly focused on irrelevant, materialistic things. This year, I plan to be more mindful and aware of what I have done for the people in my life that matter and how I can do better. I would also like to focus more on my values and bring them to the forefront so that I can improve my own lifestyle and align them with how I live and work.

This year, my Christmas festivities will celebrate family reunions, encouraging compassion and gratefulness, making courageous decisions, and looking up to my child – being curious about life. The people we meet in our life always have an impact on us – big or small, but so do we. That’s why I want to be more mindful of what value I create not only for myself but for others as well. And here I’m talking about creating value indirectly as well. There have been quite a few occasions where I accidentally found out how much something I did or said affected someone else positively and it motivated me to be more aware of my actions.

However, when I talk about the influence we might have on other people, I include children as well. And that might just be the most powerful and significant influence anyone could ever wish to have – that’s how we pass on our ideas, beliefs, ethics, and everything important that could shape someone as a person who – who knows – may change the world one day! That’s the way I see successful businesses too. First, there is a community that tries to create value and then, they spread that value, others find it worthy and the community grows, while the positive influence spreads.

I’ve always believed that children are the perfect example of entrepreneurs. Their curiosity, their courage unhindered by fear, their determination in the trial and error process of learning, it all, leads me to believe that it is them I should be looking up to and learning from and not the other way around. They always see an opportunity in everything; there are no bad experiences, just lessons. How amazing would it be if we all tried to see only the best in any given situation? There would be no negative mindsets, no giving up, the influence everyone would spread would only be positive and encouraging. So, why don’t we all accept that perspective this Christmas?

Observing on a global level, Christmas is a time to reflect on what we have done and align it with our values and try to do better in the future. Our values are what keep us on the right path. So, whenever I felt lost or simply stuck, I knew it was time to reassess my values, and each time the issue was that I lost sight of them due to something seemingly more relevant.

It’s always interesting for me to think about how much the notion of Christmas has changed and evolved, but essentially, remained the same. Whatever the circumstances – they can always change, the message of love and hope is the foundation of this holiday in every tradition and culture.

If I try to remember all the books and movies about Christmas from my childhood, all of them exude the strong morale of love, forgiveness, gratitude, compassion, selflessness, peace and hope, family, and so on. And all those values are what makes us good people, and the message goes on.

I find it very hopeful, especially in the world we live in right now, that there is a holiday everyone could celebrate that encourages creating value for ourselves and others. Maybe one day, the people will be able to avert their eyes from the consumerism that has veiled everything in the wrong way and find the true message of Christmas in their hearts. I truly believe that is the only way we can move forward as a society and live in a peaceful world.

To wrap up, there is an interesting quote that I always remember around Christmas:

“And that, of course, is the message of Christmas. We are never alone. Not when the night is darkest, the wind coldest, the world seemingly most indifferent.”, by Taylor Caldwell.

We all belong somewhere, surrounded by others. The value we create for ourselves shapes our world, but the value we spread improves the world around us.

This time is a perfect opportunity to reflect on the importance of people in your life, the value you have created for them and for yourself also. I am interested to hear what you think – what does Christmas mean to you? What value have you created this year?

Merry Christmas and happy holidays!

Milica

Milica Sekulic

In my career, I have tried many things, but writing has always been something I primarily aspired for. Both my BA and MA were in English language and literature, so I’m also passionate about reading and teaching.

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