Every year about this time – actually, it usually starts the day after Halloween when the big-box stores all put in their Christmas departments – I have to fight an urge for about a month.
It’s not exactly an urge to scream. It’s not exactly an urge to vomit. It’s not exactly an urge to hole up in my basement or garage and hide from the world.
It’s kind of a combination of those things, though.
I get why people love the holiday season, because I love it too.
But when people start to celebrate it in November (which I also understand – why wouldn’t you want to start doing something that makes you happy as early as possible?), I am reminded, every year, that many people care about the holiday season less because it’s an opportunity to celebrate something with friends and family they love, and more because it makes them money.
Don’t get me wrong, I recognize that people need to make a living and pay their bills. I also realize that the holiday season is the make-or-break time of year for many business’ fiscal success.
Which is why I say I “fight” this urge.
I guess what gets to me is that I realize that for too many of us, the self-and-socially-imposed desire to have a great Christmas – or whatever seasonal celebration you’re having – is one which leads to additional stress, sadness and feelings of inadequacy rather than ones of joy, warmth and companionship.
For many, the decorations going up all over town, the sales happening at all the stores on things they still can’t afford, the advertising telling us what we’re supposed to want, creates a feeling that they’re just not good enough.
Well, guess what.
You are good enough.
And so am I. And so is that person over there.
And I’m going to try, once again, not to let it get to me.
I think I’ve been doing a bit better.
I’ve been bombarded by tinsel and glitter and lights and wreaths and garlands and Santa hats and elves and snowmen and candy canes everywhere I look for almost a month, and I haven’t complained about it…as much as some years, anyway.
Maybe I’m growing up. Maybe I’m starting to care less about what others’ opinions are of me and not letting those prospective opinions determine my self-worth or have an impact my ambition.
I’ll never be able to be someone who opens the door on Christmas morning to show a family member their new Mercedes Benz with a bow on the hood like in the commercials – and I’m okay that I’ll never be able to do that – so why would I let it get to me that other people can do that?
The smile on someone’s face Christmas Day, after all, is bright because of who the gift came from, not what it is.
But even so, I, like many others, still feel get a knot in the pit of my stomach when I inevitably watch the number in my bank account throughout December. That knot gets looser, however, when I remember where that money went.
It went towards things my friends and family don’t have but I think they would like to. Some of it went to people I don’t even know who need a hand. And that, my Campbell River friends, is what matters this season.
Not the fact that my neighbours have what feels like $40,000 worth of decorations up in their yard and I have a broken string of lights hanging off my eavestrough.