Holidays

Well, today is the first day of Hanukkah (sometimes transliterated
as Chanukkah), the Festival of Lights or Rededication. It is the
midpoint in the season between Thanksgiving and New Year—the long
Holiday Haul. Not only do we consume a lot, but it also consumes a lot
of us.

The
usual litany of seasonal woes includes the parties, booze, food and
usual foolishness around the office. Lots of work gets pushed into the
“New Year”. Many begin taking inventory on how they did in the prior 11
months and get ready to ‘re-up’ for next year’s resolutions. There are
also those wonderful experiences of charity and love extended to the
less fortunate in the community and the joy of just being with family
and recollecting Christmases past.

For some, the holidays trigger other not-so-happy experiences—lost
loved ones, childhood disappointments, loss of faith, old shames and
broken dreams. This is usually the ‘bah humbug’ crowd. These people
need our compassion and love even more, something that we all learned
from Dickens.

So here I am approaching my 64th Christmas and I still love the
holidays, including all the over-the-top excessiveness. It is a season
in which being ‘young at heart’ takes on special significance. The
other day I saw a department store Santa and felt an inexplicable urge
to tell him what I wanted under the tree. Oh well, the truth is that
the tree is now a fancy centerpiece on the dining room table with a few
decorations left over from years in the attic that survived last
summer’s yard sale. Presents are now more intangible and easier to
wrap—things that represent future experiences like airplane tickets,
gift certificates, prepaid days at the spa, and ‘dinners out’.

So if there is any extra wisdom in age about how to handle the
holidays, it is mostly related to taking it easy, smiling at the hoopla
and reminding yourself and others that the message of the season isn’t
about how many shopping days are left. The heart of Christmas, which
sometimes gets lost in all the marketing hype, is to remember all the
shopping is really an excuse for saying “I love you”. It doesn’t matter
whether we are Christian or Jewish or Moslem. This is the season for
all of us to be grateful to our ‘higher power’ (or whoever or whatever
we credit with all the miracles in our life) for what we do have,
especially our loved ones and our lives.

To the Curmudgeons who have nothing better to do than resist
Christmas trees in public spaces or debate the political correctness of
putting angels on wreaths — well, I can only say this to the limits on
joyous celebration your holiday season would push on us — BAH HUMBUG.

0 thoughts on “Holidays”

  1. I love the holidays, too. The lights, the way people try to be more generous, the parties. I am Jewish, so I am an observer of Christmas, but I love it that way!

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