As the sun sets on Christmas 2015, I thought this would be a good time to assess the success of this year’s efforts to find the magic of Christmas. After all, is this what this is all about?
Each year, the end of the Thanksgiving Day celebration marks the beginning of the race to Christmas. We shop for hours on end, both online and in local stores. We send out cards to friends and family. We gather together for parties and celebrations at our homes, places of work and worship, etc. We plan holiday trips to visit family in our hometowns or elaborate vacations to the far ends of the world. With all of this effort, we must be searching for something.
The Season of Subliminal Messages
Throughout the holiday season, our senses are attacked from all angles by subliminal messages on the “meaning of Christmas” and “the reason for the season”. Every charity known to mankind lets us know that it is time to open our hearts and wallets to help the poor, the wounded, the abandoned, etc. You cannot and must not pass the Salvation Army bell ringer without giving. Even the Girl Scouts are posted outside the local grocery stores to sell cookies. Turn on the television and you get bombarded with an onslaught of commercials, which depict families gathered together lovingly enjoying the latest electronic devices or toys.
All of these things tug at the heartstrings and pursestrings, but do they really help us find or recreate that ever-elusive magic of Christmas.
From my perspective, the answer is a resounding NO! The magic of Christmas is not based in commercialism as we are led to believe. It is something that cannot be bought with money.
The True Magic of Christmas
Perhaps the best thing and the worst thing about social media is that it provides a great platform for anyone and everyone to speak his or her mind at any given time. Often spontaneous musings or offline comments reveal more about one’s true feelings than do carefully pondered statements or prepared responses. Herein lies the key to solving the magic of Christmas.
If we look closely at the Facebook statuses and tweets of friends and acquaintances, we see a pattern at this time of year.
- Nostalgia. Childhood memories of planning and celebrating Christmas at a time when life was slower, calmer and simpler.
- Friends and Family. This is the time of year that we really miss our departed loved ones. We send up prayers for them and we relish in our fondest memories of them.
- A greater feeling of Charity. During this time of year, we are more likely to have a spirit of giving to those who are less fortunate.
- Greater Sense of Humanity. During the holiday season, most people really and truly want peace on earth, more than at any other time of year.
The bottom line is that the magic of Christmas really is not ever-elusive. It is right there all the time, just waiting for each of us to embrace it, not only on December 25th, but everyday. Imagine if we began each day drawing our strength from our foundations. The lessons learned from our loved ones, those here and departed, are the greatest gifts ever and go a long way to guide us each day. Taking time out to reflect on our experiences, plans and even limitations will save us time, money and help us avoid many of the mistakes we make in life. A mindfulness of the environment and respect for each other will foster a happier and wholesome life. I think this truly is the magic of Christmas!