The holidays are upon us…yes, it’s already that time again and it is absolutely okay to freak out if you need to. It really does just sneak up on us every single year, doesn’t it? Maybe it’s denial, maybe it’s sheer business and an inability to look beyond our own noses, but I’m not the only one who is fully shocked by the abrupt and surprising onslaught of the time to be merry – everyone is on edge!
I’m actually not a big fan of Christmas. As I’m not particularly religious, the liturgical elements of the holiday, while fascinating, don’t speak to me at all. Likewise, the commodification of the season always leaves me feeling as though we’ve all gone off script and are feverishly winging a holiday. I know there are lots of folks who think Christmas is the greatest of celebrations. They spend hours meticulously wrapping gifts and baking stars and tree-shaped cookies, but that’s nothing for me. Wrapping is one of the many talents that passed me over and whenever I try, I am reminded of the Camus quote, “We have exiled beauty,…” Indeed, Albert. I’m just no good at it, and I prefer to spend my time doing things that I’m at least marginally good at, or that I may be quite terrible at, but which bring me some simple joy. Gift wrapping, tree decorating, and eggnog brewing do not do that for me.
But, I’m no Scrooge! I really enjoy Christmas music. I can’t hear that Last Christmas song enough! I’m also a big fan of the efforts that the shops go to in making their windows look enticing and extra special. Sure, there’s an ulterior motive behind the whole thing, but gosh they look so cool! I’m very visual. A good display speaks for itself really, and I’m only human after all. There are other parts of Christmas that I find enticing, too, for example, I very much appreciate a good feast. Who can possibly say no to a table of yummy seasonal foods, so rich and labored over that you can only binge until you wish you were dead in order to show your appreciation? Certainly not me!
I suppose I’m just considering how much there is that you can really find to like about something which at first glance might not be your thing. It’s about going beyond our immediate comfort zones and trying out new things, or even challenging ourselves to see very old things in a new light. That’s absolutely something that I can get behind.
Whatever you end up doing this holiday season. I hope that you’ll take a look at your tried and tested traditions with new eyes. Giving ourselves time to reevaluate just what we like and dislike about many of the things that we take for granted can be abundantly rewarding; not only in terms of the social factor of interacting with people, but also on a deeply individual level whereby we can examine and begin to redefine. It’s not always a straightforward process admittedly, but an examined life, a life of evaluation and contemplation, even about traditions which we take for granted, is worth it.