Friday, December 02, 2011

Gratitude


I've read a couple of fellow bloggers posts about their lack of Christmas spirit. They wonder why they don't love it as much as some people seem to. Interestingly enough, these bloggers have children who have grown up and moved out and that seems to play a big part in their diminishing spirit. I get that, I feel the same way, but I think it's more than that.

It's only December 2nd. There are 23 days left until Christmas and already, as every year, it's been crammed down our throats for the last two weeks. I've been asked by several people in the last week if I have my tree up yet...really? I've barely digested my food from Thanksgiving. The weeks leading up to December 25th are so full of hype and commercial frenzy that by the time the actual day rolls around, we have long been over it. I've found myself rushing the holiday these past few years. "Just get through it," I tell myself. Then I feel guilty for wishing that any days of my life were already past. These are days I will never get back and I'm already wishing them away?

I remember a movie that I watched as a child, The House without a Christmas Tree, about a bitter, lonely widow who didn't want to celebrate Christmas because it reminded him of his wife. He had a change of heart and they went out on Christmas Eve to buy a tree and it was such a celebration! I think that back in the days before the media frenzy of Christmas started, many people put their trees up in the few short days before instead of weeks before. And I believe that the early hype builds a lot of people up for disappointment. It causes us to ask what is wrong with us when nearly every commercial is filled with Christmas lights, new cars in the driveway, and laughing families clearly spending gobs of money and having a blast before it's even Thanksgiving. And don't even get me started on Black Friday, which has become a holiday in itself. Such an ominous name for the day that has become the official kick-off to the Christmas season. I have nothing against a good bargain but their are people out there who treat it like a blood hunt. They have no joy whatsoever in what is supposed to be the spirit of giving and will cut you in a heartbeat for that last five dollar crock-pot.

Don't get caught up in the frenzy that is December. Instead, spend this month, and every month, with gratitude. Live each day and appreciate it for what it is. And for those of us that are lucky enough, look at the 25th as special gift. A day to slow down and love your family and give to others. That's something that we all can do, regardless of our beliefs.

Here's a gift for you. A dear friend passed this on to me and I watch it often. It really puts things into perspective.

4 comments:

Karen Blados said...

beautiful post. sums up the way i'm feeling so well. thank you for sharing.

Mark said...

Your thoughts on Christmas, I agree with your theory on the kids growing up. There's nothing like watching the faces of kids on Christmas morning. When that is gone, something is missing I think. The tree...LOL, when I was little, the tree didn't go up until after us kids went to bed, because Santa decorated the tree. Where he found the time, I don't know. But to wake up on Christmas morning, to see the lit tree for the first time, the gifts under it, well, that was special.Anyway, life goes on.And thank you soo much for the little Youtube gift. That was the best 9 minutes and 55 seconds I had spent all day, really special, and eye opening.
I'm not going to wish you a Merry Christmas yet...it's too early. Have a great weekend.

Dan Kent said...

I don't get it. On the day I left the comment on your last post, I left a much longer comment on this one. (Much better than this one, because the effect of the video was still in my brain and body.)

Thank you so much for the video - it was so meaningful to me - especially the words of the old man at the end. Wow! I e-mailed the link for the video to many of my favorite people.

Your essay re the holidays was so well written. Re: "I have nothing against a good bargain but their are people out there who treat it like a blood hunt." - I heard on the news last week that a Black Friday shopper used pepper spay on her fellow shoppers to get to the head of the line for some item, or other. How do we respond to that? You are so right - the message in the video is the answer.

Adam Troy Foster said...

You hit on two important reasons we lose enthusiasm for Christmas: kids & Consumerism.
Not only does having older kids who have either moved away or are "too old" to care cause you to lose interest, but no longer being a kid yourself makes a big difference too. Remember the magic Christmas held for us as kids, even once we no longer believed in Santa? We got two weeks off from school and got to look forward to spending several hours over several days hanging out at Grandma's. Even such a secular holiday as New Year's Eve seemed more magical back then. I guess it's just called growing older.
On top of growing older, some of us grow weary of the senseless consumerism that pervades our society. Don't get me wrong, I think capitalism is still the best economic system in the world and I certainly do my share of consuming the latest technology. I just think that most of us go way overboard. I read a George Romero interview once about consumerism and why he decided to use a shopping mall as the setting for his 1978 dawn of the dead--how better to exemplify consumerism than to show zombies aimlessly wandering through a mall picking up coffee makers, tennis shoes and crock pots with no real sense of purpose.
Even as a non-believer, I still like Christmas; just not the zombie aspect of it. Although I do start early. This year I started in January--yes January. I spent most of the year working on hand-crafted items to give as gifts. I didn't get everything made that I wanted to but giving them out will mean a lot more to me (and hopefully those who receive them) than store bought shinnies.
Luv ya Cuz and have a Merry Christmas anyway!