Well, we’ve reached that time of the year. Some call it the holiday season, others call it something else entirely. Traditionally, “The Holidays,” at least in the United States, stretch from Thanksgiving to New Years Day.
Everyone knows not everyone celebrates Christmas. There are other holidays, like Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Some people celebrate the winter solstice, as people have for many years. But the reality is that Christmas is the dominant holiday in the United States, with all that it implies.
Even those who choose not to celebrate it cannot escape the images of the Christmas season. Christmas is not Halloween. During Halloween, if there is no lit Jack-O-Lantern, no one will come to your door. The images of the holiday are everywhere. Christmas music is on the radio, Christmas specials are on the television, and Christmas lights cover many houses.
Then there are the expectations. After all, “it’s the most wonderful time of the year.” Many people feel otherwise. We are bombarded with images and words that tell us that this is a time of joy. We are also bombarded with images telling us that this Christmas we need to buy our loved ones pretty much everything that is not nailed down. Once a celebration of the spirit, Christmas now seems to be a celebration of acquisition.
The weather has turned cold, the skies are gray, and we all have at least one paper due that is turning out to be tougher than planned.
I know this is not a time of joy for everyone. However, it does not have to be a time of misery. Do something this year to remind you that winter, although cold, can be a time of renewal. If you have never seen it, watch It’s A Wonderful Life and marvel at the difference one person can make. Learn about Kwanzaa and Hanukkah. Spend some time with an old friend, or just pass some time in solitude.
Watch How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or A Charlie Brown Christmas, especially if it has been awhile. Or how about this: Tomorrow, take time to look at the sunset. Even better, how about getting up to watch the sunrise? It costs nothing. I would like to make one more suggestion. If you know someone who had a birthday near Christmas, make sure you remember to wish him or her a happy birthday. Trust me, they will appreciate it.
Reclaim the holidays! They belong to all of us. Despite the bombardment of images regarding what this time of year is to other people, consider making it what you want it to be. Whatever holiday you celebrate, I wish you much happiness.
William Lodge can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.