What does Christmas really mean?

I suppose it could mean many different things to many different people – it may honestly just be a matter of one’s perspective. For some it means the birth of Christ, for some it means presents and Santa Claus, for some it means good food shared with good friends, and for others it means depression, isolation and lonliness.

Aside from the religious aspects of the holiday, which I was (as I suspect were most of us) taught as a child, Christmas most definitely seems to have other meanings. Or should I say has come to mean other things to people. People the world over, celebrate Christmas, look forward to Christmas, devote endless hours to Christmas preparations – entire industries have been built on Christmas. So, I’d have to say that Christmas is a big deal.

I guess what I’m getting at is why is it such a big deal to people? Is it just because it’s nice to get presents, paid time off from work and to eat rich and delicious foods? Or does it go deeper than that? I have been thinking a lot lately about why Christmas is such a big deal to me. As far back as I can remember it has been important to me, and I’ve been trying to figure out how the importance was conveyed to me. Was it all the many old Christmas movies I’ve watched again and again since childhood, the pretty Christmas light displays, the Christmas music, the big party of it all? Actually, I don’t think so.

While all or most of those things have served to reinforce my love of Christmas there has (for me) always been one resounding theme to it. That theme is, our best. The thing about Christmas that makes me really love it is that it seems to inspire people to be at their best, do their best, show their best. It is the one time of year when people can be kind, happy, cheerful, etc. for no reason other than the season. People just seem to try harder to be happy and kind then. And I think that even as a small child I felt that, I sensed it and I loved it. I never quite understood why it seemed to disappear not long after Christmas but it was always something to look forward to for me.

I admit it, I am a closet optimist – which likely accounts for much of my cynicism – I really just want everyone to be happy – and somehow believe it is my job to bring that about. Silly as it sounds when I type the words out here on the page and debate whether or not I’ll publish them, it’s true.

So I guess I will just say that Christmas means a special kind of time out, from the stresses and disappointments of life – it means a new opportunity to be happy, to show our happy selves, to share ourselves with others and to be nice for no reason at all. Yes, that’s what it means to me…what does it mean to you?

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15 thoughts on “What does Christmas really mean?

  1. The meaning has been changing for me in the last few years. I think my goal is to do something for those I love which I hope will make them smile.

    I think that’s nice. If we all just did that it would change things an awful lot, wouldn’t it? 🙂
    Annie

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  2. I have little kids. So Christmas is about them, and their absolutely pure joy and excitement. We keep it simple, so they aren’t spoiled, but it doesn’t matter. Because they get excited about unwrapping socks and undies…

    For us it’s about family. Simply that.

    It’s a great way to look at it and how cute they get excited about socks and undies. Hey, I’m with them – I’d get pretty excited about a pair of socks that could actually keep my feet warm, you know? 😆
    Annie

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  3. I think you have hit the nail on the head. I think for our family it reminds us to put the effort into getting together. We live here and there, so getting together is hit and miss generally. During the Christmas season we commit to getting together.

    That’s great, I think it does make a difference to be with family and friends during this time of year. 😉
    Annie

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  4. So true. I love that this season makes people feel the need to be nicer to each other. I like that people hold the door open for each other more and smile and wave more. I love telling anyone who serves me or checks out my groceries “Merry Christmas”.

    It’s just a good-feeling time of year.

    I’m with you MJ – feeling-good time of year. I guess for me, it makes all the other stuff worth it, eh?
    Annie

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  5. I’m afraid Christmas means annoyance to me. I have never liked holidays, they were always filled with violence and disappointment for me. I don’t say M—- C——–, ever. I hate being forced by society to do something I don’t want to do. I do however enjoy the spirt of kindness, and we always donate to charity this time of year. I was one of those kids getting gifts and food last minute by kind church people, so I appreciate the spirit of Christmas. But I just hate how someone who you work with who hates you makes you cookies, but leaves oout the best ones since she still hates you, but is being fake and gives you all the crappy ones. What is that? I was happy without having any of those cookies and the frosty silence between us, lol!

    Hey Girl,
    I get it. Man that is weird that she would do something so odd and convoluted. Some people are just weird asses, eh? Well screw ’em, I say. 😆
    Annie

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  6. I’m really sentimental about Christmas. First, because I still have that Inner Kid that couldn’t wait for Christmas morning to see what Santa had brought her, watched Merry Christmas, Charlie Brown, and looked out her window on Christmas Eve night (after leaving milk and cookies) to see if she could see Rudolphs nose.

    And – having been raised as a Christian – there was the ‘real’ meaning of the season….the birth of Jesus. The Prince of Peace.

    These days…I still love to decorate the house, wrap presents, play Christmas music, and remember Jesus. Creating a homey, “Hallmark Card” sort of environment for my family fills me with joy..and I love getting together with family and friends to share some Holiday Cheer (or two..OK, maybe three! LOL) and tell every one of them:

    HEY – I LOVE YOU! 🙂

    Hey Gracie,
    Now that was a very lovely picture you painted there and one I could really relate to. Merry Christmas, sweet Gracie, hope it is filled with love and warmth.

    Annie

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  7. Annie,

    Christmas is nostalgia…I remember snow covered mountains at my Grandmothers house, a warm fireplace thawing aching frostbitten fingers and family all around. My Grandmother used to make ice cream out of snow…how cool is that?

    BTW…congrats on the successful cross-country move. Welcome to the East Coast! 🙂

    – JOS

    Hey JOS!
    Your grandmother made ice cream from snow? That is very cool. I’d love to know how she did that. Thanks for the welcome – it’s mighty chilly out this way. Brrrr… 😉
    Annie

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  8. Love your thoughts on this. Yes, it is true this is a time of year where we tend to be kinder, soldiers have put down their arms and shared food and drink. This is a wonderful way to view this time of year.

    Hi Mark. Yes, I agree – if we all only did that, what a wonderful day it would be for everyone.
    🙂
    Annie

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  9. I agree with you. There seems to be a spark in a lot of people’s eyes. They hold the door for you, they aren’t so grumpy and sometimes even strangers will smile at you.

    For me Christmas is also tradition. My daughter and I have so many traditions regarding Christmas and we sometimes will go to extreme to accomplish them. Our traditions have nothing to do with presents but more with things we enjoy doing together. Shopping trips to neat places, baking, listening to Christmas music, driving around and looking at lights, etc.

    I hope you have a wonderful Christmas, Annie!

    Hugs and Jugs,
    Joanie

    Hey Joanie!
    I know what you mean about the traditions – those are some of mine as well. It’s the sort of simple things that are so heart warming I think, don’t you? I hope you have a wonderful Christmas too, Joanie.
    Hugs & Jugs,
    Annie 🙂

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  10. Have a very enjoyable holiday Annie. Keep in your mind the purity of Christmas as it is known to you.

    Thank you, Jim and same to you. Merry Christmas.
    Annie 🙂

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  11. Annie,

    Really liked this post. You made me think.

    Christmas used to mean a great deal to me. I’ll never forget the anticipatory jitters I used to get on Christmas Eve. It became almost palpable when relatives started coming over around 5-ish. It used to be a rather dressy affair..Christmas Eve, that is. And then my sisters and I grew up, my parents divorced, so did the rest of the family members and family was replaced by the other “F”: word: fractured.

    All I have for Christmas is memories and for some strange reason at this point in my life, that’s enough. Oddly scoped, but true. I’m turning 50 in April. Maybe that’s it.

    I’ve spent the last several Christmases at home alone. No tree, no decorations, but no gnashing of teeth and no regrets either. Solitude can be comforting…especially when other options are far less savory. And I’m not really alone. I have my thoughts and considering the rather occluded nature of those bitches in recent weeks, that’s enough. I guess if Christmas has a positive for me, it represents a period of renewal–even more than the promise of the New Year.

    Anyway, I apologize for the tome. Didn’t mean to emote on and on like the verbose windbag I am, but I actually just wanted to stop by and wish a very talented writer Merry Christmas and many, many good things in ’09.

    Best,
    Laurie Kendrick

    Hey Laurie,
    Never worry about saying too much over here – I like it when readers get chatty, you know? I actually do understand what you are talking about here with the Christmas approach you have. Yes, a period of renewal, fresh starts, new chances it seems all of those things and people get there from different routes, which I think is very cool, actually.

    And I wish you a very merry Christmas as well, with many good things in the coming new year. Thanks for dropping by.

    Annie 🙂

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  12. I’ve been thinking about this recently too, Annie. Perhaps it’s the economy and people being more careful with their money but a lot of people seem to be thinking about what Christmas means to them and they’ve really been getting into the spirit this year… interesting how hard times can actually bring out the best in people.

    For me Christmas is all about family. Most of my extended family live overseas and so each Christmas brings back memories of the few years we had when we were together. Now I just spend a quiet Christmas with close family, sharing a laugh and memories of good times over food and a glass of wine… that to me is the ideal Christmas and what it’s all about.

    Of course if you’re religious then Christmas will mean so much more to you. But in the end I think whether you are religious or not, Christmas represents a wonderful message and if you can’t celebrate that for one day, you really must be an old Scrooge! 😉

    Merry Christmas, Annie! Hope you’ve had a wonderful day. 🙂

    Hey CJ!
    Good to see you again. Yes, I think you’re right, that if you can’t celebrate that for one day then maybe you really are a bit of a hopeless case, eh? 😉
    Annie

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  13. To me, it means ambivalence. There are only six people I love as much as I hate, and hate as much as I love; my parents, my two sisters, and my two brothers-in-law. And it’s during the Holidays that I spend time with all six.

    Well hi Scott and welcome to my little dive. What an honest answer. Thank you for that. I hope that you are enjoying the time you are spending with you designated six.
    WC

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