Where did the Holiday Joy go?
Well that was good for a laugh, when's next Christmas coming?
Do you brave Black Friday? Not me, its getting way too dangerous out there!
The Holidays are still there, but did they change?
I have seen many Holidays come and go with joy and heartbreak amongst 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 scatered 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.
Now that's a tree!
Does anyone out there remember when:
Ahh, the good times, right? 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...no 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.
Do you even remember the words to any of the Christmas carols?
Where have they all gone?
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.)
No matter what Holiday you are celebrating, take a moment to remember why you celebrate. Keep that thought in your head as you prepare for the Holiday and use the reason as your joy. Oh, and smile, a lot!
Would it be so bad to smile?
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 .
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, ribboned, 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 everytime 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. AARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!
What was that?
Okay, I know it can get hectic during the holidays, and I know that when you are poor it is harder still, but, don't give up! The holidays aren't there to make you stress 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, food, desert, decoration, it doesn't matter what they bring. It will help to bring the smile back to the celebration. They don't even have to make it if they don't want to, they can give help or buy something from the store instead.
I need a cat nap!
Stop and take a deep breath--now let it out and read...
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!
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 kittie fellow who had decided to take a little cat nap before he wraps one more gift. I think he might be on to something.
© 2015 Cheryl Simonds