"so we can have that Norman Rockwell moment of sitting in matching sweaters in the early hours of Christmas morning opening gift after gift."
On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me....
I will fight the temptation to rework the words to this rather lengthy song to deliver my thoughts on this blog post. Probably easy to do, but been done too many times before.
The Christmas season, according to all of the carols, slogans, greeting cards.. well, everywhere, a time of joy and happiness. A time for friends and family to count down the days until Christmas Morning and a time of relaxation and festiveness. Good food, good friends, gathered around a fireplace, sipping wine, laughing and reciting old stories. Opening gifts, overjoyed with the feelings of generosity and the warmth of giving.
But something is afoot... the days leading up to the big day, and the days following, in my experience look very little like these “Hallmark” moments. And a little elf tells me that I may not be alone in finding the irony in the commercials on television of groups, all wearing Santa hats, sipping coffee and loving the season.
So why this paradox, why is the reality so different than is advertised? Lets take a quick peek at the realities of the Season.
Setting aside for the moment the festive season itself, shall we look at the Calendar. Christmas falls approximately at the end of the Calendar year, and also a pretty good start into the winter season. A high percentages of business run their fiscal year end with the calendar year end. At this time, many of us are forced to review the financial results from the year and complete planning for the New Year. A stressful and critical activity that may roll through our minds as we dance around the Christmas tree. Aslo with the start of the winter season, we are forced to financially invest in preparing our vehicles for the winter ahead, fill our furnace tanks with oil, pay fees for our children’s winter sports etc.
A direct result of Saint Nicks impending visit, is rampant spending of money, most of us don’t have to populate the space under that tree sitting in our, and our family and friends living rooms. Credit cards, and lines of credit get heated up, so we can have that Norman Rockwell moment of sitting in matching sweaters in the early hours of Christmas morning opening gift after gift.
I find fascination as the population en masse, lives through this season in denial, as I circle through department stores, desperate to find items on my list, that is crumpled and marred with dots of perspiration. Over the stores sound system, Christmas carols, songs of fun and excitement, and the faces of the throngs of shoppers tell a much different story.
The Santa hats, snowman adorned scarves, cannot hide the stress and worry of their works year end and next years financials, the bills piling up, unopened on their kitchen counters and full of anxiety and worry that when they finally reach the cashier with their carts overflowing with gifts, will the credit card machine say “accepted” or “declined”.
I am not a scrooge, and I do find joy in the season, but I am also with age becoming wiser, and no longer let straw that could break the camel’s back of all stressors affect me.. “Why does my life not look or feel like the pictures, verse, songs and visuals that fill this Christmas Season” I am coming to grips with the realities that from the middle of December until early in January.. we all must endure the Perfect Storm of stressors.