Write something fun about Christmas was the advice I got from friends. I was away when the words were due and, well, I just wasn’t feeling Christmas or feeling like writing about it.
It sounds all scrooge, but I’m not sure I feel Christmas the way most people feel Christmas anyway. Plus, the farther away from having little people in my life, the farther away I got from Christmas. … And that’s not a hint for any of my brats to turn me into a grandmother.
It’s been at least six or seven years since I put a tree up myself. As a matter of fact, I gave my tree away to a family that had purchased their first home before the holidays. I figured I wasn’t using it and they had small children who would enjoy it.
Christmas had become something so wildly commercial that it became an exhausting proposition to live up to the expectations and create what the family had been groomed by American culture to expect.
The kids were probably in their mid-teens when I asked them to choose between “tree with gifts” or to take a vacation. The negotiating that went on amongst them was hilarious to watch. It was decided that a trip would be more fun than just getting “stuff they didn’t want anyway.”
We booked a short Christmas cruise and took grandma and grandpa with us. I actually was going through old documents a few weeks ago and found the pictures. My, what a difference a few years makes. My, what a year it has been.
In retrospect, it was probably one of the best Christmases we’ve ever spent together because, quite simply, we were together. Laughing until we cried over the stupidest things and making memories that were almost buried until the pictures were found again. Teenage faces with missing teeth and braces, bad make-up and Bam Margera hair. What were you thinking, boy? Yes, I have pictures. How much is it worth to you for me to keep them off of Facebook?
The one thing commercial Christmas stories never show is that things change, friends come and go, people get sick, children grow up and parents pass away. So while I find myself licking my wounds of all of the changes that happened the last few years, I invite you to join me in keeping perspective of what is really important.
Spend time with your family while you can, before they’re grown or before they pass away.
If you have your health, fight like hell to keep it. You have the greatest gift in the world. Hopefully, you realize that.
If you don’t have your health, fight like hell to get it back. You can’t help or take care of anyone else if you’re not well.
Being an organ donor is sexy. Make sure you let the DMV and your family know that you want to be sexy.
Win the war, not the battle. Choose what’s really worth getting upset about. Foreclosure or bankruptcy are never carved on a headstone or used in a eulogy.
For gawds sake, if you smoke … quit already.
Surround yourself with friends who are true. True friends don’t care how much money you do or do not have, what you weigh, if your house is a mess, what you drive, or if your family is filled with crazy people.
Everyone has at least one crazy person in their family. It’s not just your family.
There’s always next year. If this wasn’t your best year because you’ve struggled with your health, your home, your finances or your hope, you get your mulligan next week.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Mulligan’s.
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Chris Griffith is a real estate agent at Downing-Frye Realty Inc. in Bonita Springs. If you have a question about local real estate or Bonita Springs, e-mail her at chris@LifeInBonitaSprings.com.