As far as I’m concerned, last week was Halloween and yesterday was Thanksgiving. And if you’re in the United States, Christmas is in less than three days [insert cliché, rhetorical comment about wondering where the time went].
With each passing year, Christmastime seems to lose some of its magic –at least for me – as I’ve made the transition from child-who-grew-up-too-fast to adult-who-is-somewhat-reluctant-about-some-of-the-less-appealing-but-necessary-aspects-of-adulthood. Of course I still get the same joy out of my favorite holiday traditions, such as watching “Elf,” Spotify-ing Michael Buble’s Christmas album, and setting up my expanding Nutcracker collection, but what comes with growing up is realizing that some of the magic has slipped out of your fingers, and you don’t know why.
Christmastime (not necessarily Christmas Eve or Christmas Day) will always be my favorite holiday, but the words “Blue Christmas” kept recurring in my mind around this time, and I didn’t know why but thought it best to write and rewrite until I did know.
I think the “blueness” goes beyond the childhood realization that Santa’s Christmas Eve deliveries are products of successful Black Friday or Cyber Monday deals, though. Maybe it’s the realization that while Christmas often brings out the goodwill in people more than any other time of the year, the high expectations during the high holidays can be dashed under the pressure of trying to exhibit that goodwill.
For example, I don’t think Black Friday is necessarily all bad – except when stores are opening on THURSDAY, not Friday. So even worse than the name being misleading is the fact that department store employees don’t have the freedom (which is ironic, seeing as Thanksgiving is an American holiday) to enjoy a decent football game over a calorie-ridden slice of pumpkin pie. People have actually DIED on Black Friday – what is that? I love giving gifts to people – and seeing their priceless reactions – so I get that jumping on sales is important for those who really want to buy something nice for a loved one. Yet in this seemingly generous mentality, I’ve seen things get ugly down at the malls.
The holidays are undoubtedly a time for being with friends and family. So why is it that family reunions have become an occasion to dread? I’m looking at you, recently married couples spending the holidays with your in-laws.
And speaking of couples, I’ve come to acknowledge that Valentine’s Day is not the worst holiday to be alone on; that would be Christmas, if you think about it (or are living it). Especially if you’re watching “Love Actually.”
Another recurring string of words that have occupied my mind are “Peace on Earth?” Yes, with the question mark. Obviously it’s not just recent years that have brought on a series of tragedies that compel me to seriously question the dark side of mankind, but rather all these tragedies have built up a bit of doubt in my mind that the “peace on earth” as described in the Nativity story is actually an attainable thing. I think when you’re younger it’s easier to be closed off to the latest breaking terrorist news. With internet, not so much.
Yet with all these bluesy aspects of the winter solstice season, there is left room for potential. Potential to be more charitable and good, and not just for the overly used justification, “Well I suppose, it IS Christmas.” Potential to reunite with those who have at least SOME meaning to our lives, not because we feel obligated to, but because we want to. Potential to improve aspects of ourselves now, and not waiting around for the start of the New Year. Potential to achieve some sort of peace on our world, making the Christmases that seem bluer than others slightly less strong blue hues, and consequently brighter and merrier.