I know we’ve all heard this before, but I am really bummed out at Christmas time. The commercialism, the pressure of Christmas cards, of buying presents, of meal preparation, and on and on. I’m not ultra-religious, but this is (or was) a religious holiday. I don’t want to be sad. I’d like to enjoy this season. Is it even possible?
No Chestnuts Roasting
Dear Chess Nut,
Often at holiday time, we have our own expectations of what would make it special. Then, *kaboom*, it’s not what we wished it was. I was reminiscing about a handful of times when something extra cool happened. Once, I was driving with my family across the Oakland-SF Bay Bridge. It’s a five dollar toll (!) going, and nothing coming back. As I got to the toll booth, the toll lady said, “You’re good to go. The guy in front of you paid your toll”. What guy? A stranger. Gone like the Lone Ranger he was. Whoa. And here I am, twenty years later telling you about it. More recently, a handicapped guy was trying to put his coat on next to our table in a local restaurant. He lost his precarious balance and started to fall towards my table. I caught him, and although he was pretty embarrassed, I helped him on with his jacket. When I went to pay for our tasty lunch, I was informed someone had secretly paid for it. It was unnecessary, but nevertheless mighty cool. A neighbor got her front yard “toilet papered” (arguably one of the stupidest “tricks” to play on someone). Before she got home, a couple of high school kids saw it, jumped out of their cars and cleaned it up for her. She never found out who helped her out.
The point is this: rather than have expectations of others, how about expectations for ourselves? If a holiday wasn’t very joyous, I would rather it be due to my own un-involvement then other people falling short. Better yet, I’d prefer my holiday to be important by my own kind, energetic, and occasionally inspired actions. Be pro-active. Do some cool stuff. Make it different than seasons before. When we do good, our hearts and souls are lifted. I think that’s what Christmas was supposed to be about in the first place.
John S. Sommer
Licensed Clinical Social Worker