Friday, December 21, 2012

Bah Humbug

Today’s post was going to ridicule the Scrooges of Christmas.  The idea was to ponder how anyone can be grumpy when surrounded with blinking colored lights and music that includes jingle bells and Bing Crosby.  There’s a Santa Claus everywhere you turn around and snowmen decorate the yard.  Children are bursting with giddy excitement and dessert has become the main course.  Mailboxes are filled with special greetings from people you haven’t heard from since last Christmas and everyone is wishing you a bright and cheerful Happy Holidays!  How can anyone not be caught up in the Christmas excitement?

As I said, I was going to write about that.  I’m not now.  Now, I get it.

Christmas comes with an abundance of pressure; stress that was never intended as a holiday garment.  The minute the first strand of lights is pulled out, it’s a rush of busy activity.  We worry about what we’re going to surprise everyone with Christmas morning and in today’s economy, we worry about how to pay for it all.  We wind up paying for this year’s gifts with next year’s money.  As children grow and move, we worry about how to hold it all together and make sure no one is left out.  We worry about making sure everyone is on the greeting card list, so no one’s feelings get hurt because of our faulty memory.  Inside our heads we’ve imagined this special holiday and we put pressure on ourselves to make our dream a reality.  We don’t want to disappoint the people we love, and we worry that we will no matter how hard we try.

Most families are living paycheck to paycheck and a few are even a paycheck or two behind.  Final notices fill the mailbox, stealing the joy out of the Christmas card beside it.  You’re already worried about how to put food on the table and now you need to put presents under the tree.  It doesn’t matter that you know the season is not about the gifts, because that doesn’t remove the pressure to give.  Others haven’t really put this burden on you.  You do it to yourself, because it’s an expectation you have for your holiday.  It’s your vision of Christmas and more than disappointing others, you don’t want to disappoint yourself.  That admission would force you to face the reality or your true situation.

Worry is not a festive cloak.  Neither is stress, but many will wear it this Christmas.  The sad part is that no matter how hard you try to remove the pressure from their backs, their minds will continue to hold onto it.  Nothing will make them exchange it for the garments of joy and peace that should come with the season.  Even as they’ve done their best to provide, they will sit there Christmas morning as the presents are unwrapped worrying about whether it was good enough and wishing they had done more.  They will miss the joy of those receiving because of the fear that they have developed.

I know that feeling as a parent.  Will the boys be happy with what Santa brought them or will they give me that fake smile while saying they love it?  Did I succeed or did I fail?

So, I understand the grumpbug of Christmas, because I go through those moments, as well.  However, as I look back on Christmas past, the smiles were genuine and I worried for no reason, at all.  The kids were always thrilled with what we managed to buy them and it was they who reminded me that it wasn’t the gifts under the tree that made it Christmas; it was the family that surrounded it.  With that thought in mind, I can’t be a Grinch at Christmas, because I happen to have the best family in the world.

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For Further Reading ~ Christmas through Different Eyes
                                Some Assembly Required
                                The Gift of Sacrifice

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  1. Another great read, Robbie. The pressure of the holiday season is indeed upon us and I speak as an aunt, friend and partner so I can't begin to imagine the stress on parents. I guess we all have to accept that things have really changed over the last few years, especially financially. I made a pact with myself about not caving to the pressure of over extending, which of course I broke the first time I went out shopping. I guess this is the stuff of New Years Maybe next year I'll accept that I can't give my nieces everything on their list and really, they are thrilled with anything I send. For the record, I think your family is very lucky to have you. : )

    1. I keep telling them that!!! LOL..Thank you. I do the same. I set limits but then i blow them wide open. It's the one time of year I really go crazy. And your nieces are lucky to have such a generous and loving aunt. I wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas!