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My day went as most days go for me. The only big difference would be that we decorated our Christmas tree this morning. All in all, it was a good day. Just as I went to leave for work though my father asked a rather strange question that seemed to come out of nowhere; who was in the Christmas spirit? We raised our hands or we didn’t and upon counting only two out of six actually were.

I turned to walk out after saying goodbye to my son and quickly stopped. What had made him ask that? I was curious, so I asked. He shrugged and answered by simply stating that it was because he himself wasn’t feeling it this year. That he hadn’t even really wanted to set up any decorations at all. This was coming from the man who had started watching Christmas movies before Halloween had even passed. The man who normally starts singing Jingle Bells the minute November hits.

I have come to the sad realization that Christmas hasn’t changed but people have. As the years have worn on we have become jaded. We have stopped caring and only seen Christmas as an obligation for our next generation’s sake or some other hassle. I have to wonder, when did Christmas become a hassle or obligation. When did we stop seeing it as a time of togetherness and love? I know that some will say, “Well I don’t need a special occasion to show that I love someone or to show goodwill towards my fellow man… blah, blah, blah.”

It surprises me to say the least. Even my own fiancée and my own family don’t particularly care. Granted, my fiancée will humor me and get into the spirit because he finds my reason for loving it so much to be a very beautiful reason he says but still. I can’t help but start to see why others have been complaining as of late about how materialistic and commercialized Christmas has become.

Speaking of commercializing Christmas; has anyone seen all of those commercials about Christmas and Santa? Talk about commercialized; a mother basically mockingly telling Santa in not so many words that she is better than him; this being of course an ad for all the electronics from Best Buy for under $100. Santa is supposed to be this omnipotent being for children. This person, outside of themselves or their family, that they can believe in. Why are we taking that away? Why are we trying to kill that?

Have we really changed that much as a society that we just don’t get excited about Christmas like we used to? What has happened to us? Now, this is the second time I am writing something along these lines and I’m sure most are wondering why. Well, I guess I can try to explain.

Everyday throughout the year it seems like it is just one stressful situation after another. It could always be worse and I’m sure there are others who do have it worse but it could also be better. There is fighting and drama; there is bad news and troubles all around. Now, granted, there are some good days just as there are bad but any day can go from perfect to crap in a matter seconds. Yes, vice versa as well. It’s just, it seems like people try harder on Christmas. There are less fights and less drama. And those little things that bothered you before just dissipate. Everything just seems better at Christmas.

The other day I went to the store for ricotta cheese, ground cloves, mozzarella cheese, and orange juice, as I was leaving the store I put $3 in the bucket for the Salvation Army. The gentleman ringing the bell said, “Thank you ma’am. Have a happy holiday.” I wished him the same and made some other polite small talk before walking away. Normally, people don’t call each other ma’am and sir in passing. People don’t make small talk.

I have this customer at my work named Mr. Riley. He remembers everything about each worker there; asks me about my son all the time and my other coworkers about their friends and family constantly. You can always count on a kind word from Mr. Riley. You can always count on him to genuinely care. Today, because of the holiday season, I was able to listen to him for once. He usually avoids speaking about himself but not today. Not around the holidays. I know about his wife and mother in law. I know a little more about him and I feel better for that knowledge.

I like how my family gets together for the holidays and my father and aunts all tell the same stories year after year. I love watching how animated everyone gets. I like trying to figure out who each person in our secret Santa has. I like being able to show through gifts, cards, and small acts of kindness just how much each person in my life matters. I love how beautiful the city looks under a blanket of white. No mud or dirt, just a beautiful blanket of white.

We all take each other for granted but not around Christmas time. That is the one time a year that we put just the tiniest bit of thought that show that we care. It’s funny because most days I am so frustrated at work and with my boss that I can hardly stand it. But it seems like come Christmas, he actually says thank you. He shows his appreciation and I feel better somehow just because of that. I have even mended broken friendships on Christmas. Christmas is a time of giving. Christmas is the season for love.

I believe that Christmas does and will make everything better. That all of these bad things that come close to breaking my spirit, will be better. I have to believe that. It has to be true, otherwise… Otherwise, when will it get better? When will everyone see what they do and change it? When will love save everyone if not during the time of love, caring, sharing, and giving? If not at Christmastime, well then, when?
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November 2011

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