The past few days have been a bit of a blur with the Christmas holiday fast approaching and while I have a very small list of those to buy for which consists of a few close friends and my mom I still feel the frantic flag waiving wildly in front of me as if it is screaming more, More, MORE! How did we get like this? Maybe I am getting old, maybe I am sensitive to the issue as I try hard to pay close attention to my own personal consumption, or maybe it is just the reality that we are a society totally driven by “things”.
I have a friend who has to have an excel spread sheet to keep up with who wants what, and who is getting what, in his large combined family and it gives me a headache just thinking about the stress associated with it all. We start the push for Christmas before we are even done with Halloween, and by Thanksgiving stations are playing Christmas music 24 hours a day. Seems as though we can’t even enjoy Thanksgiving without 8pm, 9pm, 10pm Black Friday sales encouraging the ever growing commercialism of this sacred holiday. As the local and national news station play footage of people running each other over to get to a $40 coffee maker “buy… buy… buy” is always at our heels followed all to closely with “more, more, more” as the countdown to Christmas ticks away. The consumption does not stop there…the food that reigns down like a caloric waterfall of gluttony is everywhere. I have done well, better than any year I can remember. Perfect? No. I have to say I don’t regret any of the choices to indulge that I made so far, they were with people I loved, eating fabulous food and really enjoying the offerings. This journey for me is not a “quick fix” it’s about living my life a different way and that includes LIMITED indulgences and celebrations.
The consumption I have noticed in the past few days manifests itself in many ways, and in many forms for me including being so consumed with holiday activities and celebrations that I have been unable to write my blog posts. I have sat down to write a few times only to have a whirling dervish going on in my head and finding it hard to capture what it is a really what to express. Consumed by the enormity of what this holiday has become, and how I really feel about it. I think so often the message of Christmas gets lost in the whirlwind of wants, needs, must haves that the true meaning of Christmas gets left behind like a crumbled up piece of disguarded wrapping paper. The holidays are a joyous time, they are also a very hard time for many who have lost loved ones, or many of us who live in a perpetual state of longing for those who have moved on in life without us. It can be a devastating time for so many, and while celebrations of the season are on the forefront I just want to acknowledge that there is a flip side to the joy that surrounds us, and that hard stuff, the painful stuff, is easy to ignore or push down by drinking too much, shopping beyond limits and lord knows eating. The aftermath of it is generally a very dark place to pull yourself out of, as this has been my ritual every January for as far back as I can remember. This year is different (I started to type “will be” different but it already is different, which is an amazing feeling)
Here is the gift to myself this Christmas, one size fits all…
I am going to be good to myself, acknowledge the pain and sorrow, letting myself miss the people I long to be with while celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. Which for me is a great hope that I can be kinder to others, love without judgement, forgive what I hold heavy in my heart and give of myself to those who go without, are in need, pain or lonely in the world including the precious animals.
“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it
under a tree.”