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Tis The Season…

November 5, 2015

halloweenHalloween has passed, leaving three major events left for the year. November gives us Thanksgiving, then December will bring us Christmas and New Year’s Eve.  These final three have one major theme in common: family, hope, possibilities, and tradition all rolled into the feeling that life is good and the future is bright. Okay, so maybe Thanksgiving is more about what has already happened, but the family and tradition parts hold.

Thanksgiving started as the celebration of a new land where the possibilities were endless. Newcomers were grateful for a place where each person had value, freedom to pursue their dreams, and follow the beliefs and traditions of their choosing. Well, in truth the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by Pilgrims who kept to themselves, took the land from the Indians, and did not want to be bothered by anyone thgvgelse.  Today, Thanksgiving is portrayed as either a time for families to gather together, or a day of rest before Black Friday. The gathering of family part is great unless your family is scattered and the possibility of getting together is remote or impossible. So we gather with the relatives available to us and try not to get depressed over those who we wish we could see, but can’t.

Christmas began as a sign of hope, promise, and love. Over time we managed to make it more about disappointment, one-upmanship, and depression. The days leading up to Christmas seem full of joy, the air filled with songs of family, tradition, and expectation. We are bombarded with scenes of families gathering around the fire, singing carols, trimming the tree, sharing gifts. While all the time, we start to reflect on family xmasmembers no longer here, homes where gatherings never take place, carols that add to our sadness, trees looking bare, and gifts of no use. The world around us gives us an image of love and yet our reality is one of loss.

New Year’s Eve holds the promise of new beginnings, a fresh start, possibilities. We shake off the past turn our faces to the future and make lists of all we want to newyearseve2013_fullsize_story1accomplish. It seems that it doesn’t take long for our promises to get set aside, our old habits return, and our lives are about the same as the year before.

While things may not be as dismal as I describe, the basic problem is one of expectation. Somewhere along the line we let the images of what all these events should be, blind us to the reality of what they are. Hence, people get depressed, suicide rates jump, disappointment rises. Thanksgiving is not as depicted in a Norman Rockwell painting, Christmas is not “A Wonderful Life” movie, New Year’s Eve is not the gala in Times Square. Many of us would love to go to sleep on Halloween night and not wake up until New Year’s Day.

The problem is that we have forgotten the basic meaning behind these holidays. The solution is found in the acronym KISS – keep it simple, stupid.

For Thanksgiving, this post I found on Facebook is perfect –  when you wake upon Thanksgiving Day, realize you have clothes to wear, running water, food to eat, and that life is good, so just be thankful.  The rest of the day can be with relatives or people you may not be happy to be around but hey, it is like going to the dentist, over before you know it.

Christmas is a little rougher to deal with.  Don’t worry about getting the perfect gift, keep your gift giving to those closest to you, and remember Goodwill can use the gift you get that you have no clue what to do with.

New Year’s Eve is easy, just go to bed about 9 p.m. and you won’t miss a thing.  As for resolutions, you just need one, no more resolutions.

As for the people you love who can’t join you on these festive occasions, just think Skype.

The only way to survive all of this is to accept what is and enjoy.

Happy holidays!

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