Less Christmas Pressure
Come Christmas time, do you ever feel like you are going under? While everyone is busy putting on a “Happy Christmas” face, I wonder how many folk aren’t so much waving but drowning in an ocean of pressure.
“The Silly Season” as it is affectionately known, is now upon us and wherever Christmas gets celebrated people queue, panic-buy groceries, and get catalogues galore poured into their letterboxes. Such are the modern traditions of Christmas.
With Christmas catalogues (or “need creators”) piled so high nobody with a shred of work to do could possibly read them all (much less afford all they’re offering), the scene is set. With the advent of Christmas, it’s line up time. Then, it’s ready set…. shop!
It beats me why we are always so shocked when Christmas arrives. I mean, it’s not as if the date is hidden beneath some surprise sealed section on the calendar. “Oh look! Christmas. This time it’s in November”. No, like birthdays and anniversaries, we figure we’ll leave it closer to the time before we exercise our creative mind and make it a humdinger of an experience.
Trouble is, if you’re a male, that’s never going to happen. Males, as you know only too well don’t do celebration planning. If it weren’t for women, the entire greeting card business would be wiped out overnight. I mean, you never hear, “Hey, George! It’s Rob here. I bought you a Christmas card…. Yep. And I got some I especially selected for all the other guys at the office too. I really loved receiving that card from Simon. It’s going straight into my scrapbook, I can tell you”.
Face it; males have limited talents come Christmas. They’re only good for fooling around with, putting bikes together, and making you laugh with silly bits of mistletoe. Women are the ones who do all the heavy lifting. “Sure! Come round for Christmas dinner. The more the merrier. Why not? My wife knows what she’s doing.” She’ll have to, given she’ll be slaving over the meal preparation for days getting it ready.
Actually, Christmas, and I don’t mean the message of Christ’s birth, but all the shenanigans that constitute what we immediately recognize as Christmas, are a mix of both funny and sad.
Funny in the sense that we go to great lengths to put reindeer prints outside the front door on Christmas Eve, drink raw egg concoctions, sing warbling carols and plaster decorations around the house with manic enthusiasm. Sad, in the sense that so many people feel the pressure of belonging at this time, only to end up terribly lonely.
As the kids have grown, we’ve become more philosophical about Christmas and less wed to the notion that you gotta do this and you gotta do that. Well actually, we don’t. All we need to do come Christmas time is spend time together reflecting on the joy we share in the Christmas message (i.e. not Santa’s obsession with entering chimneys, but that Christ loves us). That’s it.
Of course, there’s a lot to like in all the trimmings of Christmas. It tickles the child in us, doesn’t it? And if you have little ones skipping round, excitedly, it’s fun playing Santa and seeing their delight.
I just wish – and, yes, this is a fully-blown Christmas wish – I wish that nobody felt obligated to do so much stuff that they ended up hating what is meant to be a simple, blessed event.
As much as you can, avoid the stores. Spend twice as much time cuddling your loved ones by killing that flickering screen, and simply talk together. Now wouldn’t that make the lead up to Christmas so much better?
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