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Post-Christmas Blues: Was There Really Joy to the World?

By Alf Gordon(13,356)

Posted Thursday, December 27, 2007
View All Blog Posts submitted by Alf Gordon

Christmas is over.  All the gifts have been opened, all the food has been eaten, and now we're cleaning up.  Take down the decorations, remove the outdoor lights, put away the tree and tinsel and stockings for another year.  Head to the store and wait in line forever to exchange those gifts that don't fit or don't work or that we don't like.  Get back into the groove of work (and mourn those extra days off).  In short, it's time to get back to normal.
Or were we already there?
I don't know about you, but this Christmas season I didn't see much Christmas spirit.  I didn't hear "Merry Christmas" from people in the stores.  Being politically correct and sensitive to other cultures had nothing to do with it; I didn't hear "Happy Holidays" either.  People were shopping in droves, as usual, but I saw less enjoyment of the holidays and more urgency and desperation as they picked over their choices.  Too many frowns, not enough smiles.  I only saw one Salvation Army bellringer this year.  I can't say I saw many appeals in the store, or heard them on the airwaves, asking for help for those who are less fortunate.
It could have been the economy.  Maybe people were worried they'd either have to cut back on their shopping or max out their credit cards to buy all the gifts they "needed" to.  Perhaps they were concerned that they might not have a house to display all those gifts in.  Possibly some were thinking about the job that was on the line, or the rumors that the company would be cutting back after the first of the year.
I doubt it was over things as trivial as the war in Iraq, or the brewing Presidential election scenario, or global warming.  Unless you have a loved one fighting overseas, you tend to put war on the back burner and go on with life.  Everybody but the candidates took time off from politics (well, there were those phony Christmas commercials, but I don't think they count).  And I'm sure the people in the Midwest wouldn't mind at all if the average temperature of the Earth increased a few degrees.  It might help melt all that ice and snow.
The bottom line is this: I didn't see much of a change in people's attitudes this Christmas season.  It was business-as-usual with a little hustle and bustle thrown in for good measure.
So where'd the Christmas spirit go?
I'm of the opinion that part of the problem is the de-emphasis of the season.  When someone downplays the significance of an occasion, it becomes less important, more trivial.  Think about it.  When was the last time you spent Memorial Day remembering our men in uniform?  Last Fourth of July, did you take time to think about our country's history and what transpired for us to get here?  Or were these just another paid day off, time to party and vacation and have a good time?
Regardless of your religious beliefs, Christmas is one of the biggest holidays of the year.  When people try to tell us that it's just another winter celebration, is it any wonder that attitudes change?  Can we blame anybody but ourselves when the focus of the season is on us and not on our family and friends and neighbors?
I'd like to recommend that next year we try an experiment.  Let's see what happens when we downplay the gift-giving (oh, won't the retailers love that!) and emphasize the Christmas spirit.  Spend time with family and friends.  Do things for other people, especially the needy and homeless.  Think on the true meaning of Christmas (or Hannukah, or Kwanzaa, or whatever holiday you celebrate).  Let's see if attitudes change and people become a little more caring, do a little more sharing.  If not, well then it didn't really kill anybody (except for the aforementioned retailers perhaps).  But even so, I think we could all benefit when everybody concentrates on bringing a little more joy to the world.

This Blog Post has been read 388 times.
Posted to ProBlogs.com on Thursday, December 27, 2007
View other posts by Alf Gordon

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