Well, it's December and that means celebrations and such. Not everyone celebrates Christmas, of course, but that is the holiday I want to discuss.
It seems that lately much of the spirit has gone out of Christmas. Now, I, personally, don't celebrate it as a religious occasion, because I'm not religious. But I do celebrate it as a time of love, family, peace and goodwill towards others. It just doesn't seem that the feeling is shared that much anymore.
It seems that the holidays have given way to stress, frustration and anger. Tempers, which are supposed to be longer, are far shorter, much like the days. At least in the northern hemisphere. I suppose those in the Southern hemi are doing just fine, going to the beach, taking in the sun, enjoying warm temps and blue skies.
Me? I'm sitting in front of my fake sunshine lamp to get the dose of light I crave at this time of the year. Ah, to be wealthy and able to have a home in the happy temperatures at all times of the year. But I digress.
My own family has finally fallen prey to the "stress" and "frustration" of the holidays. No presents, they claim. No tree. No lights. It's just another day, another week. Move on. Let's get the crowds over with and back to normal. I don't feel that way.
I love shopping for gifts, love giving them, although to be truthful I would rather give than receive. I love the lights, the glow, the peace of the season. I like going to watch festivities, to light displays, to concerts and the ballet. I like having parties, having family here to enjoy. In short, I like the season. I've often wished that the feeling of goodwill would last all year long.
But what has happened to the goodwill? The sense of peace? It seems that it's almost disappeared. Now, it's all about sales, about getting a good deal on some item. It's about being the first in line, about getting as much as you're giving, of tit for tat. If I spend $50 on you, you'd better spend that or more on me, by golly.
I just don't buy into that craziness. I pick up items all year long. They aren't expensive. They don't have to be. Gifts come from the heart, not from the wallet. People need to listen, to hear. Comments are dropped all year long from those we love. A wistful "I wish I had one of those" to something simple like "that would nice to have" or "that's cute!". I buy a lot of things at the second hand stores. Why? Well, besides the price, I find unusual things. And I feel that my money spent there is helping an organization that helps others. I'm not just putting money into the pocket of some CEO somewhere who can indeed have those nice homes in all of the sunny locations, while his workers struggle just to make ends meet. So, I shop in local second hand shops, where I know exactly where my money goes. Or I shop at craft fairs. Yeah, they can be a trifle more expensive than stuff imported from overseas, but, again, I know where my money is going. And, most often, it's unique.
So, I will decorate my tree, I will put out the toy soldiers and the santa figures in the yard, I will set up the little village with the snow and the glowing homes and the happy people in their happy little world. And I will sit at night, with the lights from the tree sparkling, and I will know peace.