Dear Barb – Rekindling Christmas Spirit

Dear Barb:

It’s almost Christmas and I just can’t get into the spirit. I can’t find anything good about Christmas to celebrate. Everybody spends too much money, eats too much food, and drinks too much alcohol. Every year somebody in my family gets mad because somebody didn’t visit them, but instead went to visit another sister or brother. My parents are getting older, and I just wish this would stop and we could all be together. I’m just tired of the whole thing. How does someone who feels the way I do get into the Christmas spirit? Bah humbug!

Craig

Merry Christmas, Craig! Many share your sentiments. For lots of people, Christmas reminds them of what they don’t have, as well as people and relationships they have lost. Christmas can be especially difficult for seniors and people on fixed incomes. They just don’t have the extra money for gifts, specialty foods, etc. They often spend Christmas alone, without family members because of age or their inability to visit family and friends who are far away.

There are still many people who celebrate the spiritual/religious aspect of Christmas, as evidenced by the numbers who frequent churches on Christmas day, although there seem to be fewer people doing this nowadays. Others view Christmas as a time to reconnect with friends and family that they may not have seen for a long time. The bottom line is that Christmas really is what you choose to make it.

I do agree Christmas has become too commercialized. Parents spend tons of money giving their children mountains of toys that they probably will never play with. Frequently, Christmas debts last long after Christmas is over. And with high interest charges, people end up paying twice as much as the gifts originally cost. It really does get out of control.

All I can suggest, Craig, is for you to find your own personal way of celebrating the holidays. Try not to get caught up in the commercialism. If you can’t afford to buy a gift, then don’t (and don’t use credit to pay for gifts). If someone really cares about you, they will accept what you give and be happy to spend time with you. I know that sounds clich├ęd but it really is true.

Also, don’t become a victim of the social politics of the day. Spend time with the family members you want to. If they can’t all be together, try to spend a little time visiting each family.

Although Christmas should be a joyous occasion, I agree the day really has lost a lot of its meaning. Try to enjoy and thanks again for writing.

Email your questions to voice@voicemagazine.org. Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.

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