Avoiding the “Super Catholic” Syndrome this Christmas

Those of us who are doing our best to try and follow the teachings of the Church know enough to not take our cues from secular society, especially in regards to what the world says is important at Christmas.  We try not to get sucked into the culture of consumerism and commercialism and what has become society’s idea of the reason for the season; the emphasis on the material instead of the spiritual.  Many of us have been there and done that in our former lives and had our own “V 8” moments so to speak.

All of that said some of us are now striving so hard to be good Catholics that we don’t allow for balance.  We are replacing that former drive for materialism with the push for perfectionism.  No wonder I hear many Catholics complain about the holidays.  Some even going so far to say they can’t wait until the season is over!  We’re trying way too hard and missing the joy and the beauty of it all because we try to do it all; the cleaning, the cooking, the planning, the wrapping, not to mention the organizing of an untold amount of parish Christmas events all by ourselves.  I don’t know how we came up with idea that being a good Catholic means we can’t ask for help or can’t use a store bought pie crust, but I know it’s true because I’ve fallen prey to this approach myself.  I want to give till it hurts and end up hampering the entire holiday experience.

A story my cousin shared with me a few years ago, helped snap me back to reality and has now become a treasure that I pass on to other frazzled folks trying to be some sort of super Christmas Catholic.  This happened when my cousin’s four children were still in grade school.   It was Christmas time and she was juggling a number of activities and trying to keep up.  One morning as she was getting the kids ready for school, her youngest son asked if Mom had baked a treat for his class goodie day.  A wave of guilt and frustration came over my cousin when she realized she had completely forgotten to make a batch of cookies.  But then as she was packing the last lunch, she glanced over at the pantry. She had a flash of genius as she noticed a box of Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls sitting there staring back at her.  Since it was Christmas time and she at some point was planning on eventually getting around to the baking, she also happened to have icing, sprinkles, and all the fixings for cookie decorating on hand.  Eureka!  After a few short minutes with green icing, red candies, and powdered sugar she had a plate of what looked like those fancy, pretty as a picture, Yule logs you buy at the bakery.   My cousin’s no fuss Yule logs became the most popular item for goodie day.  Everyone was happy, especially my cousin because the simple but special treats, which became a tradition, meant less stress and more family time.

Now I am not saying we shouldn’t try and do our best for our loved ones. I enjoyed homemade meals and baked goods as much as the next person. And especially as a full-blooded Italian American, any relative of mine would be quickly cut from the will or worse if they dared to use tomato sauce from a jar.  But, we do need to get back to reality.  We’re supposed to be experience tidings of great joy instead of tidal waves of great stress.  Asking for help and applying moderation during this very sacred time of year can help us enjoy the moment and more importantly get closer to God and to each other.  So, please pass the Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and have yourself a very Merry Christmas!

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About the Author

Teresa’s latest book, God's Bucket List: Heaven's Surefire Way to Happiness in This Life and Beyond is available on Amazon and one of her other popular books, Extreme Makeover: Women Transformed by Christ, Not Conformed to the Culture has been on the Catholic best-seller list since its release in October, 2011.

Teresa Tomeo is an author, syndicated Catholic talk show host, and motivational speaker with nearly 30 years of experience in TV, radio and newspaper.

In the year 2000, Teresa left the secular media to start her own speaking and communications company. Many of you remember Teresa from her days in the Detroit media, especially her awarding winning radio work and her many years on Channel 7 and Channel 50.

Teresa’s daily morning radio program, “Catholic Connection”, is produced by Ave Maria Radio in Ann Arbor, and now heard on over 150 Catholic stations nationwide. Her talk show is also carried on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio.

Teresa is a columnist and special correspondent for the national Catholic newspaper, “Our Sunday Visitor”. She appears frequently on EWTN Catholic Television, most recently covering the March for Life in Washington D.C. Teresa has also been featured on “The O’Reilly Factor” and Fox News.

In 2008 Teresa was chosen as only one of 250 delegates from around the world to attend the Vatican Women’s Congress held in Rome marking the 20th Anniversary of John Paul the Second’s Letter entitled “On the Dignity and Vocation of Women.”

As a speaker Teresa travels around the country addressing media awareness and activism, as well as sharing her reversion to the Catholic Church. Her first book, “Noise—How Our Media Saturated Culture Dominates Lives and Dismantles Families”, published by Ascension Press is a Catholic best-seller and now in its second printing. Her second book, “Newsflash! My Surprising Journey from Secular Anchor to Media Evangelist” was published in September of 2008. Teresa has also co-authored a series of best selling Catholic books called “All Things Girl” for tween girls focusing on modesty and chastity.

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