Monday, December 8, 2008

The Straightjacket of Christmas

Ah, the Holiday Season is upon us and if I had a nickel or even a penny for everytime someone has told me how stressed or depressed they were, I would have enough money to us all iPhones or iPod Touches.
"There's just so much to do." "I have to get presents for____" "The Parker's invited us over, so I have to bring something baked."
It also seems that every possible hand is extended by charities representing those in need. Give to _____ (twice). Even public television has a pledge drive or two.
All in the name of Holiday Things You Should DO.
How did it get this way ?
My sister likes to dream that the pre1960 years were simpler and easier times. She is half right (in my opinion) they were simpler times but they were not easier. There was just as much for adults to do then as now. Maybe more. I don't know for sure because I was a kid then. Being a kid meant one thing - waiting for Christmas (to see what we would get). That was easy.

Dads and Moms had to somehow get the stuff, wrap it, hide it and take us to family gatherings, church gatherings, neighborhood gatherings, etc... Each gathering involved bringing something, a jello mold or some side dish. Keep in mind that these were the days when nothing was instant. There were no microwaves. Calling someone on the phone was something you did at home.
So my point is : Christmas time was and is always filled with busy-ness.
I feel that the true difference today is that we are trying to do MORE things than they did in past times. Because of technology, we feel that we have more time and thus we want to do more. And we feel that HAVE TO DO MORE. Thus we stretched to our limits and we feel the effects of this.

Four years ago, I had almost nothing to do at Christmas. My extended family was gone and my friends had gone there own ways AND I wanted to be alone. That year, I went through holiday withdrawal - I felt dizzy and disoriented - I had to buy presents for ------ that was where I stopped myself. I had no one to buy gifts for. I had no one I HAD to get a gift for because they were getting me one. So I sat and watched all the other peop0le running around buying stuff and feeling jealous and left out.
Sometime later in that holiday season, I began to break out of my Holiday withdrawal. And in doing so I noticed something - I was free. Free to choose where and when I would go and what I would do - I had escaped the straight-jacket of Christmas obligations. I knew then that I had given myself the greatest Christmas gift ever - freedom.

So this Christmas season, when you complain about the stress of doing too much or about having not enough, drop a nickel in the Grinch Jar then send it to me and I will get us both iPods - if I have enough money that is and have enough time,

Ho Ho Ho,