4 min read

Thank you, Christmas

Thank you, Christmas
Photo by Annie Spratt / Unsplash

Christmas has just passed. Brace yourself for a cliché edition of this blog. Because isn't Christmas a time for reflection? A moment to contemplate the end of the year, be with those you love? Now, the question arises, what does gratitude mean to you? What are you thankful for?

My Christmas this year started a bit chaotic. Originally, I planned to drive to England with my boyfriend, uncle, and brother on Christmas Eve. The rest of my family, including my parents, were already there and waiting for us . However, last week, I tested positive for COVID. A problem half of the Netherlands is dealing with at the moment. Considering the situation and varying perceptions on how to handle it, we decided that if I still had symptoms on Sunday, it wouldn't be wise to drive to England with four people in one car, especially when meeting family members at higher risk. So, on Sunday at 5:30 AM, I woke up, assessed my condition, took another test, and ultimately decided not to go.

Reflecting on all those biking lessons, I can now laugh because things don't always go as planned, more often not. The key is how you handle it. How quickly can you shift your mindset and spot opportunities to turn it into new experiences? Bags were packed, gifts wrapped, and there we were in the dreary with endless rain poring down. We allowed ourselves to feel disappointed for a day, then made a new plan. That's when the magic happens – new doors suddenly open, doors I'm incredibly grateful for.

On Christmas Eve, Sebas and I enjoyed a lovely dinner with the two of us, watched "All You Need Is Love" with a live chat stream, and had FaceTime sessions during breaks with friends. On Christmas Day, we joined my best friend who had come from Paris to celebrate Christmas and whom I hadn't seen in 9 months. We could easily join a delicious homemade meal. The next day, on Tuesday, we joined the in-laws, almost complete for the first time in a long while. They were delighted when they heard we were coming. Watching children play, seeing grandmas and great-grandmas admire their grandchildren, and sharing food, moments, and memories together. After a bit of adjustment, we had a beautiful Christmas, emphasizing how important family and good friends are.


Yes, I missed my own family at that moment, but fortunately, we have New Year's to celebrate together. As I walked from the bus stop to my childhood home after the Christmas dinner, I felt the years I spent there, where I dreamed, cried, laughed, got up to mischief. Where I lived.

On the bus, passing by my grandparents' former home, I listened to the song that reminds me of my grandma. Christmas is also the time when we miss our loved ones who are no longer with us, or at least not physically here, a bit more. These moments for me always come with a mix of nostalgia and love, happiness, and sadness simultaneously. So, when I got home, I dove into our extensive bookshelf, where books published before I was even born. There's a small section of books that belonged to my grandma, and I always enjoy browsing through them. Every time, something new catches my eye, a different book captures my imagination. This time, it was Louise Hay's books. I picked one up, and it talked about the world needing more love. The fundamental starting point: love begins with yourself. This obviously resonates with me and is similiar to how I view the world and how I believe it could ultimately improve. So, I smiled. A deep, genuine smile from within. Because, once again, I realise that I resemble my grandma more than I ever knew. Maybe even more than both of us knew when we were here together on Earth. I've always had a deep connection with her. But the nuances I only come to understand in retrospect.

So, there I was in my bed on the second day of Christmas, reading a book older than I am, one that my grandma read and used to shape her inner journey. My grandma, whom I didn't know was so consciously engaged in self-development or even spirituality, if you will. They always said my grandma was very down-to-earth. Yet, every time I delve into that bookshelf, I discover a new piece of her. And a piece of her lives on in me. Connected, fused. If that's not the most beautiful Christmas gift I can receive, then I don't know what is. 🎄

Gratitude break 

Do you ever pause to think about what you're grateful for? Take a moment and share your gratitude with someone else!

A simple way to train this is by placing a journal next to your bed and before sleeping, jot down three things you're thankful for. It only takes 1 minute and it’s surprisingly effective; research shows it boosts your happiness and self-esteem. When I started living more consciously, I did this every day. Nowadays, it's more ingrained, a habit. The journal still sits on the nightstand though, and when I sense a dip in my mood, I write in it again.

You realise, over and over, that happiness lies in small things and grows when shared with those around you. And even on the harder days, there is always something to be grateful for, you just need to be able to see it ✨