Twas the Month before Christmas by Bill Storie
It seems we all build up to Christmas Day for well over a month – or more in some cases. I think part of that long build up is because some people, probably many people, simply love the Christmas season. Therefore, starting early is nothing unusual.
Having said that I suspect that the happiness of the Christmas season is partially due to the less-than-happy lifestyle for the rest of the year. There’s no doubt that especially for people who live alone - through choice or circumstance – that they take the opportunity to raise the happy factor higher than usual. Nothing wrong with that. In fact, if you do get “over-enthusiastic” about Christmas that is wonderful. You deserve it.
Yet for many folks, the Christmas season is not the jolliest of times.
Memories of Christmas Past – or maybe just memories of times past – personal issues, family issues, good times, bad times. Christmas seems to draw attention to many emotional issues.
On our radio show yesterday (The Ozone on Magic 102.7 FM, Bermuda) we were talking about the impact of Christmas – particularly focusing on eating too much, perhaps drinking too much. Spending too much, Relaxing too much. Doing things to excess seems always to be a topic of discussion at this time of year. We seem to take pleasure in boasting about how many parties we’ve been to or how many plates of turkey we’ve consumed. During the rest of the year we are paranoid about eating too much and putting on more weight – yet this month we don’t care. Hmmm.
Then the radio conversation turned to the emotional roller-coaster for many people during this Christmas season.
We all have memories. Some are good, some are bad, some are awful. And because of the season we seem to dig deeper to find those bad memories as some sort of ritual. During the rest of the year we tend to say “Move on” when emotional things pop up - but this month we embrace them.
I am just like everyone else. I seem to discover old memories about family and absent friends very easily.
I can easily recall specific events (decades old) where family was sitting around the fireplace after a big meal, some snoozing, some out cold, but most of us just talking about anything and everything. Christmas was a time to realize new things about family and friends. They tended to share their feelings and, on many occasions, we’d hear, “Wow, I didn’t know that you felt that way. That’s great.”
We discovered that Uncle Joe was a trained pilot even though he now was an auto mechanic. Aunt Carol used to work for a major politician – now she was a housewife. We even discovered that our own thoughts about some complex issue were actually clearer than we realized.
So, at this time of year I find it so easy to think of others – people I don’t know and have never met – but recognize that they are on their own at Christmas. The kids have flown the nest for example. Or loss of a spouse. Being alone in the best of times is tough – being alone at Christmas can be extremely stressful. Sadness.
So, here’s my idea.
On the day before Christmas I will record a Christmas Message and post it on all our Olderhood platforms.
I will make sure it is uploaded at the right time given our global family. It will be recorded, not live, but I will make sure you all see it at the top of the page and you are more than welcome to add your own messages to anyone and everyone. If you are alone, I trust that me dropping in to your house will be joyful for both of us.
By Bill Storie