As we embark on the “Christmas” season I must confess to having mixed emotions. The holidays are not an easy time for me – I lost a couple of the major players in my life a couple of years ago and I still struggle to feel festive.
Or maybe that is just my excuse …
When I was younger I had Christmas spirit by the bushel full. I shopped, I planned, I baked, I wrapped, I decorated, and I feasted gosh darn it.
But no matter how much I fussed, the whole season somehow never quite lived up to my “hallmark card” expectations. For a long time my solution was to make increasingly more effort in the hopes that if I upped the ante enough, sooner or later a tidal wave of Christmas cheer would come flooding through my living room. (Actually I think I just yule logged the skeptics around me into submission)
And then everything blew up. My mother passes away a few weeks before the holidays and no one celebrated that year. I tried different things the next couple of years, but it wasn’t the same.
Suddenly all the indulgence and commercialism just didn’t feel right. The more it was pushed on me by others, the less I wanted to do with it. (One person actually stopped speaking to me because I didn’t see them over the holidays).
And then I realized something – I had rather lost the point of the whole season and it was high time that I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started doing something to help some people who truly are having a much harder time than I am.
Leaving religion aside, Christmas is supposed to be a season of giving and remembrance and hope, and yet it is a very difficult time for anyone who is struggling in the rest of their life – particularly for anyone struggling to feed their family.
I read a newspaper article about a mother who did not have enough money to buy food for her toddler and I finally said “enough”. I refuse to live with the knowledge that there are children going hungry in my own community and not do anything to help.
I will personally be donating food anonymously to one of the local charities from now on until the economy in my country improves and possibly a lot longer than that.
If you are reading this – I challenge you to do the same. Even a couple of boxes of macaroni and cheese a week would make a huge difference to someone else. Are you really going to be able to feel comfortable this holiday season knowing you did nothing to bring joy to someone else?