It’s the holidays – the most wonderful time of the year. Parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, caroling out in the snow, etc, etc. But why do we care, and what does one wear?
Of course we all like to look festive for Christmas parties, throwing on sequins and red dresses – really doing ourselves up. I went to a couple events, and, for the first big buffet I went for a big high-waisted skirt. I found it at a thrift store a couple years ago, and sewed two snaps in the waistband, so it’s expandable. It’s a great deal of material, so I save it for special occasions or when I’m in a particularly flashy mood, but I find that I wear it most around the holidays. I keep it simple with black, my necklace, and my tall boots. A bold lip sets the whole thing off. It’s simple, comfortable, but still interesting enough to merit complements at a holiday party.
The holidays are a big time – a series of days with high expectations attached. Expectations are a sure-fire way to set yourself up for disappointment, so why do we always insist on having them? Why is it that Christmas must be the most wonderful time of the year? Supposedly you’re with the people you love most, giving and receiving a few thoughtful gifts, eating delicious foods, and all laughing and wearing santa hats like you’re living the reality of whatever Christmas card you sent out. But what actually happens on Christmas, and why are we celebrating?
To many people, Christmas is nothing more than a chore – a day to be around people you call family by blood, not by choice – to eat and drink and try to be merry, to give and receive gifts that not much thought were put into, to attempt to enjoy each other’s company. For others, it’s a break in the monotony of everyday life – something to look forward to, a day to set aside for nothing – for fun. A day to be calm, relax, socialize with people whose company you enjoy, and forget about the rest. We throw parties because we can – here in China no one knows what Christmas means or where it originates – stores put Santa Claus stickers in their windows, and people use the day as an excuse to have a party, to go shopping – to treat themselves. Because they need a reason.
It began as Saturnalia – a week-long pagan festival of debauchery, something like The Purge movies – where anything and everything was indulged, and a human sacrifice set it all right at the end; gingerbread cookies started as human shaped biscuits to symbolize the human sacrifice. If you’re curious to know more, I read through this page and found it fascinating. But then Jesus came – supposedly the ultimate [human] sacrifice. He was born, and Christians placed his birth on this day – somewhat arbitrarily – in an attempt to redeem the pagan holiday. Then it became an excuse to persecute Jews – a day to mock them for being wrong about the messiah’s arrival.
Growing up, we always read the Christmas story straight out of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John, and celebrated the whole thing as a day of hope – a day when, as the Christian band Point of Grace pointed out on a Christmas album we played every year – love came down. Regardless of why we celebrate, I hope we can all latch on to that phrase. Whatever or whoever love is to you – let it come today. Let it be a day to give, to enjoy, to embrace – to extend love to those you might not naturally extend love to. And let that pervade your daily existence. I think that’s the true spirit of Christmas, and what is there to lose by practicing it? It can bring joy all year round, and it doesn’t even require the trees or the presents or the feasts.
Feasts are a blast, though, and I really got to go HAM this weekend. I took time to care for my body in between meals with a 20 minute yoga vid especially for holiday meal digestion – it’s a gem, especially with all this rich food. For the Christmas day festivities, I wore dressed up pajamas – a second buffet within 24 hours required an elastic waist, and this top literally came from a pajama set at Target. I’ve been incredibly comfortable for games and meals, and I look cool to boot – at least I think so, and that’s what makes it true.
What do the holidays mean to you? What do you like to wear for a party or a day of opening presents? Please comment down below, and enjoy your holiday!
Love, calm, & care –
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