Christmas Spirit

There’s something about the Christmas season that is breathtaking. I’m not sure if it’s nostalgia or just commercially induced mush but I’m hooked. Sucked in 100%.

Last weekend we spent the entire weekend (mostly) doing festive things. It’s all around us. Carols on the radio. Hallmark Christmas movie countdown. Stores decked out. Parades. Tree lightings. Snowy vignettes. It’s a magical sparkling wonderland of emotions.

The movies and songs speak for themselves: romance is on hyper mode during the holidays. I wonder if that’s why singles are prone to skip Christmas (unless they have young children or other extended family). Does Christmas culture accentuate that it’s better to be a couple or family? Everywhere you turn on the media there’s a reminder that Christmas is romantic and we should be in love during the holidays.

Everything sparkles and twinkles. Christmas is lit up. There are lights everywhere. We seem to forget that we are in the shortest daylight period of the year (I read yesterday that a town in Alaska had its final sunset until 2020 …. total darkness until the new year!!). It’s as though the powers that be (commercial consumer mega marketers) decided that happy, hopeful shoppers spend more. And darkness is depressing so they better light it up. Who cares about energy consumption?? Not a peep about “green” lighting options in the holiday decor departments. Griswalds rule!

There’s a focus on charity. That is true unless you’re at a flash sale or trying to park in a busy lot or waiting in line for something. Suddenly holiday cheer turns into dog eat dog. There’s apparent rage, anger, frustration and anxiety simmering under the top layer. I know I fantasize about the homemade gifts I’m going to make and the decorations I’m going to design. Then I realize (with an audible groan) that I’m going to have to create, store, schlep, move, dismantle all of it December 12 so our place is ready for winter renters. My grandiose plans and schemes are (poof) vaporized. We are spending Christmas with my folks in their two bedroom abode … 8 adults, 1 large dog and more stuff than necessary.

I think sometimes that all the glitz and sparkle is a planned distraction from the holiday reality: our expectations and visualizations if the family/friend gatherings can be profoundly scary. Spending time with people we see too rarely forced into a window of time where travel and mobility are limited due to weather and shear volume eating foods that are too everything (mostly too sweet) and being so frenzied that you skip over the simple joyful things.

In spite of all of the pitfalls, I simply love Christmas. But I have love. From family and friends who reciprocate. It’s meaningful and I enjoy spending time (frenzied or not) with each of them. We see each other a lot. Not just at the holidays. It’s a great time of to reflect on the year that’s coming to and end and plan for the one ahead. It’s a great time to be extra grateful and thankful for the wonderful life we lead and those we share it with.

It’s over before we know it. Savour every moment.

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