Christmas stress has always been hard for me. I'm the only person I know that as a child the doctor told my parents to let me open gifts days leading up to the 25th. Believe it.
Frequently these days I'm asked what my plans for the holidays are and a little embarrassed I answered that I don't have a whole bunch of things to run around and do. I usually end up talking about how this year I'll be having the 3rd Annual Kalakaua Christmas Walk and that they're all welcome to come and to bring a camera. Most of the time people's eyes glaze over at the thought of parking in Waikiki and conversation starts back up around all the different places people will share celebrations with friends and family. It always leaves me feeling a little underwhelmed... until I realized something.
I started the Annual Kalakaua Christmas walk a few years ago on Christmas day afternoon. I was alone and trying to figure out how not to be sad. I figured that since I lived in one of the most beautiful places in the world that Christmas day was as good as any to appreciate it, so I took my camera and off I wandered from the Kapiolani Park end of Waikiki to Fort Derussy. Long story short - it took a couple of hours and I got some great photos of Diamond Head and hotel decorations, but when I came home I cried.
Last year the 2nd Annual Kalakaua Christmas Walk was sort of a bust. It was raining so photos weren't that great and I had recently been laid-off but simply because I had called the previous year's walk an "annual" event I made myself go out and do it again. Of course the holidays were stressful compounded by unemployment and the nation's recession but life went on.
Barring an all out rainstorm or some other act of nature the 3rd Annual Kalakaua Christmas Walk will go on. But this year is different in my heart. I'm making a concentrated effort to not let myself get wrapped up in the hullabaloo of the season and to remember what is really important. Plus I've upgraded my camera gear and am looking forward to some stellar photos!
This year it's a week before Christmas and I have a smile on my face and a happy heart. What's different? I've simplified.
No more running around trying to keep up with others trying to keep up.
I'm giving gifts that are consumable and won't just clutter up some other person's life/home.
I'm avoiding malls and department stores. Well, I've been to Target twice this month but when I feel the anxiety building from the chaos and noise i know it's time to leave.
I'm deleting sale emails without even reading how "good" the sales are. Same goes for the newspaper ads I used to analyze to death.
My friends and ohana are more important than ever. My biological family is minuscule but my ohana is big. I am a blessed person.
I've simplified the holidays and I like it.
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