Not Enjoying Christmas?

Dec 25th, 2012 | By | Category: Career advice

Not Enjoying Christmas?

I got up rather early this morning. It did not have anything to do with Christmas – We (my wife and I) picked out our gifts together. If it were not for the tradition of having gifts under the tree, and my daughter coming for a visit we most likely would have just put them away instead of putting them under the tree.

I like Christmas, and although we no longer travel to see our families, out two daughters travel to visit us. So the baton has been passed, and it is sort of a relief, even though my wife bore most of the burden of decorating, buying gifts, wrapping, cooking, and so on, I always end up feeling a little stingy or inadequate when others tell what they received as gifts. I hate buying gift almost as much as I hate to receive them. Not only at Christmas, but on any occasion. It is very difficult to pick a piece of merchandise that conveys how I really feel. Sometimes when we are buying gifts out of sense of duty or guilt – it is even worse. What do you buy for someone who demands a present? Receiving presents is worse for me, because I am very bad at hiding my initial feelings, most of us are. When someone opens a present focus on their face, not the gift, when the paper is stripped away. It is a split second before the fake smile and the excited voice kicks in to recite those famous words, “Just what I always wanted.” Then setting the gift aside to open another. I have learned not to take offence when that split second expression is not one of being pleased. As the gifts progress they all get more or less the same reaction. When I receive a gift I feel really bad, that I may not like what I received. Even a gift card has a string attached, why not just cash and let me buy what I want?

Anyway I digress. My intention this morning was to write a consoling article for all those who do not get what they expect or want, or just don’t enjoy Christmas. Christmas is a particularly tough holiday because there are so many businesses counting on Christmas to make a profit. With so much riding on it, the hype and the commercialism just keeps expanding. It starts earlier each year, and the advertisements are sharpened to cut through our commercial resistant armor. That’s mainly because we have developed our resistance at commercials aimed at our wants, and focuses instead on what you should buy for others. What would Christmas be if we just went out and bought our own gifts? I don’t think there would be much of a market for plastic Santa stocking stuffers. It seems like every year we end up with little plastic figures which get tossed in and packed away with the Christmas decorations.

It was surprising that after all these years, I read and article about Christmas stories and songs, which made me re-examine their motive. Although the Peace, Joy, and warmth of family and friends is clearly audible, there is usually a darker message hidden in the lyrics. The religious hymns are pretty straight forward as their focus is not on the commercial end of Christmas. Most of the commercially oriented songs can be very depressing if you listen to them. They almost all have a message of unfulfilled longing and loss, with a more than a little guilt thrown in for good measure. Imagine the physiological baggage this builds as we listen to for three straight months year after year. I’ll be home for Christmas, in many cases the home that comes to mind at Christmas is a memory or memories – and it is true – you can never go home again.

So how should we look at Christmas? If you are reading this- you can be thankful that you are here to do so. That no matter what, you are a member of the universe, and have the same value as anything else in this universe. It often seems like we the universe favors one person over another. It sure hard t argue against when we see those with less skills and talents zoom ahead of us in the office, when our long awaited promotion goes to someone else, or when you are laid off with no prospects of finding another job. Sure makes it hard to believe that we are the same. But it is true; physics works the same for everyone. Drop an apple and it will fall to the ground, same as it did for Newton. I spend a lot of time thinking of what makes some people succeed so readily, while others struggle and meet such resistance. The one thing that seems to be basic is attitude. Even your reaction to Christmas depends on your attitude, you can make it what ever you want it to be.

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