Where Did the Holiday Joy Go?
Well that was good for a laugh, when's next Christmas coming?
Did the Holidays Change
I have seen many Holidays come and go with joy and heartbreak among them. But it just seems that the joy, and true happiness has slipped away. Even in the children, smiles seem to have faded away and become nothing more than greed.
For Christmas, everyone greedily looks at tags to see who got the biggest gift, or whose paper has a cool store logo on it. There is no family gathering where everyone is happy. No joy at who gave you a gift. Mornings are generally filled with torn wrapping paper, empty boxes and game pieces scattered on the floor. Thanksgiving might just as well be forgotten. Even though we celebrate it, it seems more like a day to fuel up for Black Friday than a day to give thanks. Halloween has become dangerous for children. Older ones actually prefer to join their friends at the haunted houses where they plot to scare others who attend. Those in the middle ages have been targeted by adults who tamper with their candy. Little ones prefer to go see Auntie and Grandma, then they want the costume off 'cause they are done. What has happened to the Holidays?
Remember When the Holidays Were Great
I remember when the Holidays were great. The times when we laughed and enjoyed simple gifts and had lots of fun in the snow. Walking through the stores and seeing all the shinning decorations sparkling in the bright lights. Wanting to go see Santa. Wanting all the newest toys, even though we knew we wouldn't be getting them. Enjoying the fun atmosphere and the smiles on the faces of everyone we met. Yeah, they were good times.
And the tree...not an all one color or theme for us. Everything from paper to, well, use your imagination. We had ornaments from long ago and ones we had purchased or made. Our tree had everything. And our tree made us happy. I think that was the best thing of all.
Do You Even Remember All The Christmas
Carols You Used to Sing.
But Times Really Have Changed
I don't see any of that anymore. In the stores, I see grumpy employees putting up Christmas items in the middle of October (or worse, in September). I see Thanksgiving decorations coming out for a week, just one week around the end of October, and then they are gone making more room for Christmas items.
I see grumpy cashiers who have been ringing for hours as people fill the stores to get the sale items before anyone else. People shoving their way while using fowl language about others relatives. I see customers so tired of the whole process of giving for the Holidays (which means shopping for the holidays), that they simply buy gift cards and call it a day. I know they are great, but wouldn't it be nice to have something solid to hold Christmas Day? (PS: No, do not grab something from your closet or your pantry at the last minute. And the chipped clock that hasn't worked in years is also not a good choice.)
Remember When Christmas Was Simple
Would Smiling Be Bad
Would it be so bad to actually smile at someone as you wish them a Happy Holiday? Or even just a happy day? Smiles are contagious, did you know that? If someone crosses your path and they are grumpy, if you smile and wish them a Happy Holiday, do you know what will happen? Their outlook will change. No, not right away, unfortunately, but as they walk away, they will first look back for a minute. Then, they will sigh a bit and just a little corner of their lips will rise. If another person smiles, the curve gets higher and soon they are the ones passing the smiles. Wouldn't that be great? To have everyone you meet smiling. Unfortunately, frowns are also contagious. Do you want to spread a smile, or a frown.
Where Was Your Christmas Smile
When was the last time you smiled during the Christmas rush and actually meant it?
I have often wondered where the joy went. As a little child, when I did see someone grumpy, like Mr. Scrooge, I wondered if their joy had gotten up one night and just ran away because it was bored from disuse. As a kid I thought it could happen. Anyway, since we all know that really isn't what happened, we need to try to figure out what did.
I think that, through the years, the holidays became more of an adult thing rather than a child thing. Adults had to get gifts for the kids, each other, family, friends, neighbors, the mailman, the butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker (um, too much? Yeah, sorry); anyway, by the time all the gifts were bought, wrapped, tagged, covered with ribbon, bowed, and stored safely away, it was time for card writing. And then the parties. Everyone was having a party, and needed a babysitter (wonder why). Then came the gifts for the families in need. Volunteer work, though rewarding, took time from getting all that other stuff done. Oh, and don't forget the office party, and the boss who hates Christmas and knocks down the little tree every time he walks by it.
Wow, I think I can understand a bit now. I mean so much stress and pressure. So much to do and so little time to get it all done. So many people in one place, so many spills on my carpet, so much smoke from the smokers, dropped and broken dishes and serving containers. How can anyone keep happy in that? And to top it off, the kids are listening to Christmas music and you have been hearing Christmas music for months at work.
Don't Give Up
Okay, I know it can get hectic during the holidays, and I know that money is tight, but don't give up! The holidays aren't there to make you stressed out; they are there to remind you of the love, caring, giving, sharing, helping and happiness for which the holiday stands. Want a less stressful holiday this year? Remind everyone what the holiday used to be like and ask them to bring something to the gathering that reminds them of what the Holidays used to be. It can be, food, desert, decoration, it doesn't matter what they bring. It will help to bring the smile back to the celebration. It will help bring back the joy of the Holiday.
Stop And Take A Deep Breath
You are making things hard for yourself. Make things easier for yourself. Cut corners, its okay. Make a mistake, and laugh about it. You don't have to be perfect. And neither does the celebration or the guests. Do what you can and then smile, take a deep breath and maybe a nap or nice hot cup of tea.
If enough of us stop stressing and start smiling, we can put the joy back into the holidays. And I don't know about you, but I would love a holiday where I can get things done and actually enjoy doing them! Kind of like this kitty fellow who had decided to take a little cat nap before he wraps one more gift. I think he might be on to something.
Stop Frowning And Start Smiling
Take a moment to relax and remember why Christmas brings joy. Enjoy the lights and the snow (just a little), the decorations and the smiles. Christmas isn't about gifts, it is about love, joy, sharing and caring. We can do those things even if we can't have a huge Christmas Tree with expensive gifts beneath it. Remember that a frown is merely an upside down smile and should be just as easy to do. And to get you started on the right foot, try making your own Christmas Cards (if you have kids, they can help no matter how old they are). And smile so the whole world can smile with you, frowns are for loners!
Christmas is about love, giving, sharing and helping.
The joy and smiles are the result.
Christmas Cards By Hand
Take paper, construction paper, or go on-line and print out something. Decorate the front with Christmas stickers, pictures, pretty paper and/or ribbons. Inside write a giant 'Merry Christmas'. Write their name and maybe a short sentiment, like: "Hope your Christmas is the best ever!" Have the kids write or draw on the card and put down their name as the author. When dry, fold and put into a regular business size envelope. Address and stamp as usual, and put stickers (don't use foam stickers here) or draw something like a candy cane or wreath. Send your cards with a smile.
© 2015 Cheryl Simonds