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Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas is Coming - Bah! Humbug!

Christmas is Coming, Bah Humbug!

Christmas is just over a week away and like many others; I've been so distracted with the expectations of the holiday that it's taken away from the spirit of the season. As hard as I try to emulate June Cleaver I still often feel as if I'm lacking in ways or not doing enough for the people I love. Bah-Humbug!

I know that Christmas is going to come on December 25 of every year so why do I find myself trying to cram so many things into a short span of time? Why are even enjoyable activities so physically and mentally draining? I guess for me it's because my daily routine is already so full I can barely pencil in bathroom breaks and the Christmas season means adding even more things to do into my chaotic schedule. There is extra shopping with no extra infusion of spendable cash. There are social events and obligations and last but not least, there is baking and cooking until even the mice in the neighborhood is avoiding the kitchen. I'm telling you, I saw a field mouse today that normally lives beneath the outdoor storage shed. He was sitting there waiting for his mate to butter his sides so he might be able to squeeze through the little gap between cinder blocks that he has always used as his front entrance. I'm not kidding!

I mentioned the lack of additional spendable cash already but many people are faced with not being able to pay utilities and eat at the same time much less buy gifts or materials to create gifts. I have a dear friend who has become so depressed at the lack of finances in her home she has withdrawn from the world. Her mate doesn't understand her moodiness and she doesn't understand his mood swings either. It's stressful to watch so many people planning for gift exchanges, dinners out, and parties at home, when you can barely afford to survive.

Of course, what we sometimes forget is that the people who manage to create a perfect Christmas appearance to the world often do it by overdrawing bank accounts, deepening credit card debt, or letting bills remain unpaid to be caught up after the holidays. I like to think that a lot of the people who will be attending one party after the other and dining out in expensive restaurants to celebrate the season will pay for it by gaining weight, enduring headaches, and maybe even feeling Jack Frost nipping at their toes.

What really gives me a feeling of sadness during this season is remembering all of the people I've been forced to say good-bye to through the years; grandparents, my father, aunts and uncles, and children who were never able to find out what their full potential would have been. I will admit to pangs of regret for not seeing them more often, not telling them I loved them enough, not giving them some outlandish gift they wanted, etc. Those regrets don't last long, however, and I smile as I look back at years past and remember all the joy I shared with these people.

I find it heartbreaking to see families divided over holiday spending, visiting, and even decorations. I feel blessed that my family seldom has heated arguments or disagreements during our gatherings but as a child, I always knew that on Christmas Day there would be fireworks that did not take place in the sky. Some uncle or aunt, or maybe even my own father, would have a little too much to drink and someone would end up with hurt feelings at the minimum. Looking back, those incidents are some of my most vivid memories of less than perfect holidays but they bring me smiles and sometimes fits of uncontrollable laughter.

Christmas is not about the gifts. We all need to accept each other for what and who we are instead of what we feel we (or they) should be. There are many lonely people in this world that would love to sit down to a good hot meal with other people to talk to and enjoy. Many of our elderly have lost all of their friends and family or they are so ill they are confined to their homes or in nursing facilities. If we're lucky enough to have people to share the holiday with and we're able to worry about what we do or don't have then we're alive and that in itself is a gift beyond compare.

I don't live my life like people on sitcoms live and I'm thankful for that. (I have yet to see any of those people take a blood pressure pill and then have to find a restroom every fifteen minutes for the next couple of hours so apparently they don't live like I do either.) Life is not perfect, in fact, it's totally unpredictable. I don't know about you but I plan to focus on what makes me happy and think positive thoughts about the future.

I wish a Merry Christmas to each and every one of you. I am sending you each a cyber hug that has no expiration date, requires no batteries, and has no conditions to meet in order to enjoy it. This hug is absolutely free and if you pass it forward to others it can only increase your joy. What better way to celebrate such a special birthday than to give a gift from the heart?

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