The crazy holiday season has arrived. I am not sure that I am ready for any of it. The holidays have always been a difficult time for me for many reasons that I am not going to get into but I would like to share a look into my perspective of the holiday season. It is crazy, hypocritical, and complete nonsense but really isn’t that what the holidays really are now.
I cannot stand what the holiday season has become. In my neck of the woods Christmas decorations were up before Halloween. The constant push to get people to spend money is exhausting. I understand that a lot of businesses make a large portion of their yearly income during this period and they want to maximize what they can make, but Christmas in October. It is a little too much. Each year it gets worse it makes me want to spend less and wait longer to decorate. It is one thing that drives my wife and kids nuts. They already want the tree to be up and decorations out but I will hold out. I will not do it before Thanksgiving and I hope to drag it out to December. By that point I am usually tired of them asking so we spend a few days decorating inside and out. I just really wish things could be much simpler but it seems like we are always just trying to go bigger, faster, and louder.
There is also the over abundance of people wanting to volunteer and help those less fortunate than themselves. Don’t get me wrong it is nice that these people want to help. It really is, but I also know that those less fortunate need help more than just around the holidays. What makes the holidays so special that once a year we go and donate time, money, food, clothes, and toys when these things are needed year round by the same organizations we are giving them to now. In my current Grinch stage, I just see the hypocrisy of it all and I really ignore the positives that do come out of it. For me it is just another reason to skip the holidays.
This is also the time of year that you are inundated with gifts and cards from people you may barely know. My wife has some friends who seem to compete by who can send out the most cards. I would rather send out a few and actually write something in them that people may actually want to read. I would tell them why I think they deserve a card from me and why they are special in my life. Then you have gift giving. Gift giving is just not something I get. I understand giving gifts to people you care about but why give them to people you don’t know. Why do we make cookies for the neighbor 4 houses down when I don’t even know their names and have never met them? It might be my antisocial nature and my wife’s attempt to get me out and talk to people, but I don’t know them so why the gift. And if we get one from someone we did not get one for, it is like mass panic in the house. Gifts should be given without an expectation of anything in return. I would prefer to not receive gifts if I had the choice. I would be okay giving them but I really do not like receiving them. Again it could be my antisocial nature. I am sure people could argue about my wanting to give gifts and one of those gifts I could give would be the gracious acceptance of someone else’s gift and they would be right but it isn’t that easy in real life. And like I said I am hypocritical.
As I am sitting here right now and I think about how I would want the holidays this year, I can think of a few things I would want. One would be to make those closest to me to let them know how much they mean to me. I want them to know that I do not let many people in and they are part of a very small, special crowd. I would want to help people feel some hope and not just in the short term. I would like to find something that can be done over the long term to help someone or a family rather than just for the year. I have no idea what that could be but I want to find it. I already volunteer and donate things all year, but maybe there is something more.
The last thing I want, and as hypocritical as this may be for me, is that I want my kids to still feel the wonder and magic of the holidays. I want them to get the warm feelings I don’t get, I have never had. I want them to look forward to the holidays and be able to spend time with family. I want them to be able to look back and remember special moments during each holiday. It may only be one a year, but I want that for them. I want them to also understand where all these feelings come from. They need to know they don’t come in a cardboard box. They don’t come with a price tag. They come with all the things you cannot touch but you can feel. They come with the things that you do everyday for each other. They come with the brief moment in which you can make a difference in someone’s life. They come by not looking for those rare moments but by looking for the good in others and offering help to those who you can help, even if it isn’t the holiday season.
I don’t want them to feel the disappointment that can only come in a wrapped box because all the things that they think is going to be the best thing in the world is quickly forgotten. By putting my cards in the experience rather than the tangible products I hope my kids can see the holidays for what they are and that is the chance to not be a better person but to be the person you are everyday and share that with the people closest to you. It is the time to sit back and reflect on the good that you have done all year to everyone you have came in contact with each day and it is my hope that they can share that with their kids some day.