Every year. Every year I think to myself how I just can’t wait till it’s over. It’s not ‘humbug’. It’s not for dislike that people are so giddy over the entire next month of the year, the decorating, shopping, songs, food, and festivities. I just struggle to enjoy it, and have for a lot of years. To be honest, it can be a little overwhelming and sort of sad.
As a child the holidays were all about the traditions. We knew what to expect each year; where we would go, when we would go there, and that we would be appreciative for the time and gifts – because the holiday wasn’t about the gifts. We didn’t always have a lot but we had each other and the love and laughter of the season.
My adult holidays are not quite as full of love and laughter. I go to work at least five days a week and watch what the holidays have become. The rush. The greed. The physical push and shove of the selfish and self absorbed. I watch the public’s frothed aggression at taking a deal out of the hands of another, and the retail machine feeding this with Thanksgiving day shopping starting earlier and earlier – pulling low paid (often seasonal) employees away from their families. I listen to the berating and ill tempered shopper, the parents screaming (often with numerous loud profanities) at their kids, the angry person who didn’t arrive in time to get the limited time/price/quantity item. I’m cursed at and threatened by people who are more pleased by what their dollar can buy them than the people they share their life with. Oh, and let’s not forget the canned generic Christmas music on repeat and the people who are offended by “Happy Holidays.” It makes me sad. What has happened to us??
Every year. Every year, shortly after Thanksgiving, I think about pulling out the tree and all the decor because it just might brighten my day. I just might come home from one of those challenging days and the lights and heirloom decorations will remind me of how fortunate I am…it could happen. So I fire up Pandora on the bluetooth speaker and pull out the tree. I’m fluffing branches and singing along until one song comes on…one song is all it took and I’m a blubbering idiot sitting in the dining room floor with the top of a Christmas tree in my lap and tears and snot all over my face. Flogging Molly singing If I Ever Leave This World Alive (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tVPTu4l6OnE) is all it took for me to be flooded with memories of all the people I don’t share the holiday with anymore. All the memories made, love and laughter had, and the times in my life when I loved Christmas.
I suck at this. It’s essentially going through the motions. When did I stop loving parades and caroling? When did I stop seeing the world with the joy of a child? Why does it feel like a burden to me as an adult???? and how do I know I’m not alone in this feeling?? Because if we all enjoyed it we’d be nicer to each other. We’d take the time to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ and it wouldn’t be about the rush and frustration of spending money on things that most of us don’t need. If we actually took time to enjoy the people in our lives – the people we share the holiday with NOW – maybe we wouldn’t have to sit in the floor and cry because those past holidays don’t exist for us anymore. Stop and LOVE the people you have in your life. Stop being jerks to each other over a buck. Stop being hateful to your kids because you are frustrated with your own situation. Stop and try to enjoy the holiday….that’s what I’m going to try to do. Sometimes try is all you’ve got.