Peter – Bring on the Jolly

As Andy Williams famously sang, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”. To many people, Christmas certainly is that. However, even the most devoted “Christmasophile” can find the constant assault on their senses and wallet to be somewhat debilitating. Like so much of modern life, Christmas has been transformed into a commercial crusade, seemingly endless competition for the almighty buck…your almighty buck.

The growth in online shopping vehicles, the increase in in person shopping hours and the growing trend towards cashless, touchless, “secure” payment options can be overwhelming. Having trouble getting to sleep? Log on, use your credit or debit card, or Paypal or any of a number of alternative electronic payment options and get your Crimbo shopping done in one fell swoop. The fact that you may then wind up going to work that day with 4 hours sleep is irrelevant and would be inadmissible in a court of law. While you might feel fulfilled, I’m pretty sure that any of your coworkers who have “to pick up the slack” won’t be as appreciative of your commercial acumen. (I know, because I have had to do just that for a few former coworkers, and that was before online shopping was so prevalent.)

What? Shop Online and Miss All the Holiday Fun?

Of course, you might feel like you are in competition with friends and/or family members about buying someone a spectacular, memorable present. You might find yourself becoming anxious about the whole process. All of a sudden, what should be a joyous time becomes a sad, dark experience. And let’s not forget that long hidden grudges and resentments can bubble to the surface, fueled by drugs, alcohol and the pressures of the season. After all, take familial strangers, simmering issues, cold weather, the pressure of next month’s bills and mood-altering substances of various types, mix in a family room, stir, step back and see what may happen next.

Paradoxically, imagine how hard this season can be for the poor, the mentally ill, the homeless, the depressed. Toss in COVID and its burdens and the situation is even bleaker. And don’t forget that many people deal with SAD.

I know that you are wondering exactly where I am going this week, Loyal Reader. Well, here’s my personal take on this whole season.

One of the things I always say is that you are your own “fun control board”. You yourself hold much of the secret to your own happiness. Take the time to think for yourself, realize that society can impose artificial expectations on you. They are society’s expectations; they don’t have to be yours. Give of yourself this season. Reach out to those in your circle, especially those who are lonely or feeling down. You can’t visit them? Give them a call, a text, a message. Doesn’t take much. Let them know you are thinking of them.

Donate to a homeless shelter, money or your time. Yourself. It’s a powerful statement and it’s literally right at your fingertips. Offer to lend them a hand, do whatever you can do. Light their darkness. Show them that they are not “an afterthought”.

This Christmas will be much better than I had thought it would be. Last Christmas I was so depressed that I actually booked an appointment at the Wound Clinic Christmas morning, as a distraction. We have the tree up, we should be visiting this Christmas, weather dependent, of course. Betty even bought CoCo a present. (I can mention this because CoCo would rather sleep than read my column.) We are both buying an unwrapped toy to donate to the local toy drive.

The real meaning of Christmas, to me anyway, is sharing love and happiness. Take the time, make the effort to reach out with love. I also always say that we live surrounded by heroes. It’s not that hard to be one.

For her part, Betty is trying to adjust to having a man in her life who has a birthday on December 27th. I live in hope.

See you soon.



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