’Tis the season to be _______. How would you fill in that blank? Of course, you may have the Fa, La, La, La song to convince you the word has to be “jolly.” The problem with Christmas and Jolly are they don’t always go together.
By its very nature, Christmas is a time of nostalgia, and folks, I’m here to tell you that nostalgia can be a dangerous, depressing emotion. If you have happy memories, you are sad because the past was happier than the present. If you have sad memories, you can become downhearted from thinking about it. It’s easily a lose, lose situation.
It’s also the season for stress on steroids. People are stressed about everything during the holidays second guessing themselves. Did I spend too much? Did I spend too little? Did I buy the right size? Will he hate it? OMG, hope she put a gift receipt in here so I can take this back.
And how many times have I pulled out the wrapping paper, scissors, bows, ribbons, and ho-ho-ho not a piece of tape in the house. Maybe I could hold this sucker together with all those address labels that every charitable organization in the United States sends me. A word from the wise—don’t do it!
Don’t forget all the Christmas events that may or may not be cancelled. The weather is always dicey this time of year. The Christmas parade was tossed forward from week to week until we ran out of weeks. I remember the years I worked on Christmas floats for Alzheimer’s and then later for my women’s group. It seems that I’ve always been fortunate enough to work in an unheated miserably cold building. I can’t even imagine the frustration of going through all that work just to have the weather throw a hissy fit every weekend in December.
Nothing says holiday season like hazardous roadways. Throw in a little freezing rain and a half foot of snow and it is a fool’s errand to rush around trying to buy those last minute presents. Then, I can’t help but ask myself—did I, or did I not, buy something at Target when I was in there a few weeks ago? I hardly ever shop at Target, but there I was…just at the perfect time for the credit/debit card bandits to strike.
It’s really a lot easier to enjoy Christmas when you reduce the pressure. I’ve tried to get my shopping list pared down to the bare bones. Just buying for the sake of buying isn’t my idea of fun. And those long lines snaking around the buildings while the wind chill is 40 below…no way! On Thanksgiving Day, no less. Black Friday was seriously anti-climatic after all the stores decided to skip being thankful for pushing the bargains. That darn Christmas stuff was out before Halloween. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Labor Day sales next year are the beginning of the Christmas Shopping Season. Why not just move it up to Independence Day? Firecrackers and tinsel. They do kind of go together, don’t you think?
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not down on Christmas; it just doesn’t always seem to be the magical time of year for me. Oh, I enjoy Christmas lights and Christmas carols just as much as the next person. I’ve become a Hallmark Christmas Movie addict. The thing I love most is having my family over for our annual Christmas get-together. It’s a laid back, no pressure, big pot of chili good time. The reason I enjoy Christmas is because I have no expectations, I refuse to wax nostalgic, and I celebrate it without fanfare.
The one thing I don’t care about is all that pressure to be, you guessed it, jolly. I’ll be happy because I choose to hold that emotion in my heart whether it’s Christmas or any of the other 364 days of the year. I’m a happy person. Jolly? Not so much.
copyright © December 2013 by L. S. Fisher