I don’t know about you, but I feel like I’m in a time vortex of CHRISTMAS. Everything since the second week of November has become Christmas season, and all eyes are fixed on December 25th. It almost seems like the year ends after December 25th, and everything else is the start of 2014. Strange.
Holidays have a way of messing with us. I’m sure you’ve noticed how easy it is to become stressed and bitter. It’s true that a lot of people make an extra effort to be thankful, too. We spend time with family and friends. We’re expected to buy things for others, eat special foods, and go to themed parties. It’s an emotional time of year.
I’ve been thinking a lot about why.
Why is it that bad attitudes seem worst when Christmas is close?
Why do people expect happiness?
Why is everyone writing something they’re thankful about every day in November – but not in April or July?
Why are family bonds suddenly highlighted, of utmost importance?
I think it’s because this man-made holiday season is a scheduled, forced change of perspective. The ‘traditions’, the meanings behind the holidays, the events that so ingrained in our society – all of it is forcing us to think differently.
We feel a little worse about buying that pair of shoes when we haven’t picked out a Christmas present for Mom. That doesn’t bother in the summer. We are suddenly bitter about family that has hurt us because we should be happy together – it’s Thanksgiving, after all. We don’t notice we are less than thankful for that one person when we’re in the middle of spring.
What an interesting thing we have created.
As a society, we have a set holiday season. In that holiday season, we have perspectives that we expect – of ourselves, and of others.
Perhaps it can be so stressful because this is the time of year when we are forced to notice where we don’t fit those idealistic values we project upon ourselves. We are forced to notice that yet another year has rolled by and we haven’t accomplished that one thing. We are forced to notice things we spend the rest of the year ignoring.
It is this same forced perspective that can make the holidays so fun.
Christmas parties are sentimental, somehow – much more valuable to use than pool parties. Yet, relationships are definitely valuable all the time – not just as Christmas parties. We might love our families, but lead busy lives or live far away from each other. I know I’m going to Texas for two weeks in December-January. Why? Because of Christmas of course. It’s a wonderful reason to be with family.
Perspective is a funny thing.