Struggling to get hold of the Christmas spirit
It’s hard to believe that another year is over and tonight thoughts of Santa Clause’s arrival into homes across Australia will have many a young mind too excited to sleep. It’s a fabulous time of year for sure and as things wind down towards Saturday, the festive spirit is rapidly starting to sink it.
Around this time of year I always find myself reminiscing back to when I was a child and it always gets me thinking, is Christmas still the same? Overlooking the obvious differences of my AGE and the fact that I now spend my Christmas in a hot climate away from the snowed over landscapes of Europe – do I still celebrate Christmas like I used to?
Not getting into any of the religious aspects of Christmas, for me the spirit has always been that something in the air, that thing that can’t really be described but which I know exists. A festive feeling, a general vibe! For some reason though, I’m not feeling it yet this year and I’m wondering why?
Christmas trees and lights certainly help to make the Season bright but beneath that surface I think that something needs to click internally before a person starts feeling Christmassy.
I was in a taxi the other day and the driver started telling me his views about Christmas, it was a genuine Bah Humbug assault! “It’s got no meaning anymore”, he said, “it puts people under too much strain to spend even more money than they already do.
Take my missus”, he continued, “Last year she buys me a gold necklace. I couldn’t lie to her, it was disgusting. Why did you get me something so ugly I asked and you know what she told me? It’s Christmas, I have to buy you something.“
Strangely enough, it seems other people share the taxi driver’s view. I’ve lost count of the amount of people who have mentioned their lack of interest in the festive season, everything is too expensive and how they’re happy to work through it and catch the sales in the New Year. Maybe it’s that subliminal negativity that has me feeling less Christmassy than usual? Has some of my Christmas essence been lost to commerciality?
With the recent reports that retail sales are down this year and Gerry Harvey claiming that things have slumped as bad as during the last recession – the commercial side of Christmas is certainly on the minds of a lot of people. In some places, livelihoods rely on this time of the year being commercially successful.
That’s tough, in a year of increased interest rates and soaring energy prices, disposable income is in shorter supply this year and no doubt stores will have to fight hard for every dollar they receive. It’s sad but I don’t think it’s commerciality that has me feeling less Christmassy. So what is it then?
My son Jarvis has just entered the room and asked if I’d take him and his brother for a drive to see all the houses that are lit up in our neighbourhood. I said I couldn’t, I need to finish my work. As soon as the words left my mouth, I discovered what I was missing.
As plain as the writing on this page, the root of my Ebenezer Scrooge is of course myself. Not the fact that I’m still working or that this is a busy time of the year for me, it’s the fact that I haven’t allowed my inner kid to start to come out yet, I haven’t given any of my time to this season yet.
I haven’t stopped to look at my kids stockings that are hanging on the mantle piece or the baubles they’ve placed on the tree- I’ve showed little interest in the advent calendar who’s chocolate, my youngest son has eaten almost entirely. In truth, I’ve been too grown up and serious of late.
Christmas is a time for family, for celebration, for joy and most of all it’s for children to get swept up in mystery and surprise. It’s about letting go of the mundane day to day workings and allowing yourself to be youthful again- to place a stocking on the mantle piece with your own name on it, to play Bing Crosby’s Christmas Carols over and over again, to count down the days with the kids until Santa arrives and most of all, to start having some fun.
That’s it, with this last line I’m signing off. A red and green elf hat that my wife bought is close at hand, I’m going to put it on and then call the kids. We’re going for a drive! Merry Christmas to one and All. See you in 2011.
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