It's Worth It

It's the day after Christmas. That means a little under six days to gear up for NYE celebrations and put some grist on ideas for new year's resolutions.

This year, I celebrated the holiday season with my family via a group trip to Australia November 24 - December 10. As such, I was able to avoid most of the mass consumerism of Christmas Day and it's side effects (drained bank account, maxed credit cards, holiday traffic, crowded retail shoppes, religious services, etc.).

It's not that I am a Scrooge. I just think the true meaning of the holidays has been replaced by blind consumerism and guilt. Most people know this to be true at heart. It should be a time of giving and being with loved ones, with a smattering of worship of the Baby Jesus if you are into that. Most people go through the motions but don't really get the true meaning of Christmas until Christmas Day, after the presents have been opened, the consumerism is over, and people can shake off their zombie trance, look around, and appreciate being in the presence of loved ones for a single day.

I suppose that one climactic 24 hour period and its afterglow makes the weeks after Thanksgiving leading up to Christmas all worth it. You can think of it as a worthy struggle enduring hassles and guilt so that you can experience the joy of seeing your friends and loved ones made happy with gifts on Christmas morning.

All those road enraged drivers and ornery shoppers literally and figuratively disappear on Christmas day, and though the coffers will remain depleted for several more weeks and months, the non-stop onslaught on your bank account ceases and returns to its baseline level.

The joy of having the Christmas season be over is evidenced a week later on New Year's Eve when people celebrate the official end of the year and the holiday season. Most people are relieved when it's over, hence the festivities of NYE, even though the worst part of winter is yet to come (in northern latitudes).

The pre-Christmas holiday trip with my family was awesome because I got all of the joy of the holidays without the side effects. The trip was a group gift to us all and we had not just a couple days but a couple weeks to spend together, sharing the amazing travel experience.

At a more general level, I tend to spread the spirit of giving and joy over the whole year, not just concentrating it all on one day. There's a lot of altruism and giving at Christmas to be sure. But for most of the year, there's a lot of fear, hate, and selfishness. You only need to look at mainstream media and politics to see this. Christmas now represents something of a hiatus from selfishness and blaming others for all the world's problems. The Baby Jesus' message of giving and love is on display around Christmas and the fear and hate mongers cannot withstand its withering glow, so they go underground and hide in silence for a time. But they will crawl out of their dark holes soon after the start of the new year and the cycle of evil will start again, the fear and hatred and stupidity sending out venomous tendrils that intertwine around peoples' minds, only to start to wither and fade again when the holiday season begins again around the time of Halloween. It's no coincidence that Halloween is all about evil spirits and monsters. They are brought into the light and recognized, after which the remainder of the year is all about reducing evil and selfishness.

My usual new year's resolution is to keep the spirit of joy and giving going all year and 2015 is no different.


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