This is actually not what I intended to write originally. I had another more enthusiastic post planned. Yet, it seems somehow inappropriate now. Surprisingly (at least to me) this Christmas is going down as one of my most memorable Christmases. But for reasons I truly didn’t anticipate.
I’ve always loved Christmas, even when I was hating it. I don’t know why. Perhaps it is because there is a part of me that simply refuses to grow up. A part of me that wants to believe in the impossibility of dreams coming true, happy endings and the basic good-heartedness of people in general.
And in recent years I’ve heard a lot (and there are even whole series of articles dedicated to this theme these days) about how Christmas isn’t what it used to be. There is the commercialism, the basic cynical outlook of society today, the stress, the unusually high expectations that inevitably sets people up to fall. This and much more is what I hear is wrong with Christmas today. But if I reach back into my memories I can easily recall my mother making the same claims when I was a child. And if I reach further back than that, by watching old movies, those claims appear too. To quote a character in the movie Miracle of 34th Street – “There are a lot of isms in the world, but the worst one is commercialism.” Indeed, that story was all about how society had lost the magic and true meaning of Christmas and how if you ‘just believe’ you can recapture that feeling.
This year has been a very tough one for me. For many reasons – not the least of which is that the company I work for came very close to shutting its doors this past week. Somehow, we have managed to avoid that castastrophe, at least for now. Although, there is no promise that it won’t rear its ugly head again next week or the week after that. Despite that (and many other things), I was completely and totally unwilling to let go of my love of Christmas. I was sure, very sure that I could still spread the magic and enthusiasm. Cheer friends and family alike.
And try I did and have. To no avail, I’m afraid. It seems everywhere I go there is a pervading sadness. Whether it be dinner with friends, shopping, the blogosphere – it doesn’t seem to matter. It’s like no one really wants to be cheered. And it’s not the Grinch angry kind of thing – even that (in comparison) is not so bad. It’s worse than that – maybe an indifference??? I don’t know.
All I know is that I’m tired of swimming against the tide. I’m tired of fighting people to be happy for just a few days. I guess I’m just plain tired. Perhaps I’ve finally grown up and realized there really is no magic. Or I just simply don’t have enough magic powder to go around.
My plans are made. The gifts are bought. Heck I’m even making a turkey dinner for Roomie, lest he eat hot dogs and watch cowboy movies all day. But my heart – it’s just not in it any more. I’m just not feeling it in the air, I’m just not seeing it in people’s faces or hearing it in their voices. And it’s kind of lonely here at the party by myself.
So this Christmas is my empty stocking. Not because there are no gifts there – because there are and there will be. Not because there won’t be good food and some laughs and goofy pictures to hide from public view. Not because I’m broke or I’m driving an old car that has a new weird sound almost every day. Not because there won’t be snow on Christmas Eve. Not because – in a phrase – life is a bitch and then you die. But because the sparkle that’s behind filling that stocking just ain’t there this year. Maybe next year it will be back. I sure hope so.