Although we have yet to begin the month of December wreaths have been hung, lights have been lit and Christmas music is being played. I however, am having a hard time getting into the ‘Christmas spirit’. I feel like it is being sold to me so forcibly that I am dubious to endorse it.
Every year the decorations are on display earlier and earlier. The retail industry is in a constant state of selling a future that seldom arrives as advertised. Most people feel the pressure of getting the house cleaned, gifts bought and food prepared. Everyone is rushing and racing, talking about how stressed they are and how much they need to do. No one really seems to enjoy the lead up to this one day. (I speak of Christmas, however I know there are many other December celebrations. This one just seems to have the best press.)
In it’s earliest form Christmas wasn’t about Christ at all. It was about the sun, not the Son. December 21st is the Winter Solstice, the longest night of the year for those in the Northern Hemisphere. Thousands of years ago it was a celebration called ‘Yule’. This centred around the idea of light and rebirth, the darkest part of the year was behind them.
Now we have people spending thousands and feeling overwhelmed about what presents to buy for people they don’t really know. When at the core of this holiday – that so many celebrate without asking why – is about the joy of life. We have survived this far, made it through a difficult part of the year and kept going. We know the sun will shine on our faces once more.
If everyone were to stop and ask themselves what is their favourite part about Christmas, I doubt it would have anything to do with commodities. I did a quick search and the what most people enjoy: Sitting in front of the fire in their pyjamas, curling up to read a book or watch a movie, seeing excited kids and the atmosphere. We all also love having a few days off, knowing that you have been giving permission to slow down. Yet every year we are sold the idea that those moments must be bought, that the perfect present is what makes the perfect Christmas.
This year I offer an idea. When you have those quiet moments of joy on your own or with others, you register it deeply within you. Breathing into that feeling and recognising that all of us just want to know that the sun will shine on us again. That at our core, the moments that matter most have nothing to do with products purchased.
“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” – Roy L. Smith