The trouble with Christmas is that it is difficult to ignore the fact so many people cannot possibly meet the advertised expectations of joyous celebrations; of friend reunions; of high value gifts; of obsessive amounts of food and drink; of carefree playing around the tree; of even having a tree overloaded with colored lights, sparkling ornaments and gifts!
Are businesses really establishing our basic parameters for a “successful” Christmas, or are they simply marketing their business?
If the latter, then are we really that gullible to adopt their ideas as to how to spend our time and money over the holiday period, or is it really what we want?
If the latter, then how do we rationalize our own need for excesses over the holiday knowing full well that so many others cannot participate. Is it a feeling of entitlement; a response to societal expectations, or simply because we can?
If the latter … can we? Really? People I have known tend to fall into some predictable categories.
There are those who “go with the flow” which is contrary to their financial health. These people dread the credit card statement due in January.
There are those who can comfortably afford the inherent financial responsibilities of an over-indulgent Christmas.
There are those who limit the whole perceived array of festivities to what is reasonable both as a Christian holiday, and as a financial burden.
If you are in the “go with the flow” group, then now would be a good time to sit back and evaluate what Christmas really means to you. Do you really want to be coerced into excesses? Perhaps this is the time to establish some personal restraints on the celebrations. Perhaps this is the time to exert your own authority on the season and say “Yes, we will be celebrating but it will be within some limits because we see no reason to celebrate an imminent debt which will take us many months to pay off!
If you are in the second (affluent) group, then you are indeed fortunate. Perhaps this is the time to review your projected expenses over Christmas, and then consider your charitable contributions to date. Hopefully you will project a contented smile.
If you are in the final group who celebrate within certain restraints, then perhaps this is the time to simply say thank you. If you are as disciplined and financially responsible as this would indicate, then you are probably already contributing to a cause which is dear to you. Perhaps next year, you will be in a position to re-evaluate your contributions to that cause, or expand to include others.
This holiday, which is based on the birth of a savior, provides so many opportunities to evaluate ourselves. Are we having any positive impact on the lives of others, or are we simply living to satisfy our own wants and desires?
That’s the trouble with Christmas. Just thinking.