Yup, It’s Christmas
By James Donahue
Of all the national holidays we celebrate,
tops them. I think this is because of all the commercial hype the holiday gets by
advertisers attempting to portray the day as a time of buying and exchanging
gifts. The onslaught continues almost non-stop from as early as Halloween.
The stores and many downtown districts
bombard our heads
with Christmas music for weeks prior to the big day. The television, radio, and
computer programming is designed to get us mentally excited about Christmas.
Even the weather forecasters spend their time giving travel conditions for
families heading home for the holidays.
In the massive effort to persuade
people to spend all of
the money they have, and to go deep in debt with money they don’t have, we are
mentally brainwashed to think of this holiday as something magical; that if we
do everything right our lives will be changed and we will have ultimate
happiness forever. We are persuaded to believe that having that new giant
screen television in our living rooms, a surround-sound entertainment system in
the family room, a new car in the driveway and piles of new clothes, shoes,
perfumes, jewelry and toys unwrapped under a decorated evergreen tree, that extreme
ecstasy, bliss and euphoria will be the reward.
Guess what. It doesn’t happen.
There aren’t many Americans
earning the kind of money it
would take to come close to staging the kind of Christmas gift giving extravaganza
described above. Thus the treasures unwrapped on Christmas morning fall far
below expectations. And even if we manage to prepare a nice ham or turkey
dinner, the day usually ends up somewhat dismal. Nothing turned out quite as we
But don’t despair. If the family
is gathered for the day,
take joy in this. It is here . . . among people who love and care for us, that
we find the real joy and happiness. We need to treasure these moments because
life is so fleeting. Each Christmas we spend together may well be our last.
Take pleasure in the way the neighborhood
with colored lights and holiday displays. Appreciate the words of good will
voiced by neighbors and the people we meet on the streets. There is a little
magic generated by all of the promotional music, colors and anticipation in the
days preceding the big event. Be glad you can be a part of this.
And above all, never expect Christmas
to be anything more
than it ever was. It is a celebration of the winter solstice and the time when
the sun begins to return for longer, warmer days ahead. Love the way we
celebrate. Love the people who gather around us to help us celebrate. And be
glad you are alive to witness it all.