Thanksgiving weekend took a quick detour the other day and soon all my great plans were a bust. In order to salvage what I could I hopped on a plane and headed north to spend my weekend where my time would be more valuable. My original trip to the Keys was canceled due to some health issues of some senior relatives. The week was unfortunately, filled with the passing of one elderly relative and then an unfortnate mishap of another. I soon found myself on a plane and my ideal weekend of rest and relaxation were exchanged with driving that darn Cross Bronx Expressway, visiting with relatives and Christmas shopping. Of course my flight back to Florida would have to be delayed as Newark airport always has delays and I had lots of time to reflect. The funny thing about reflection is when I am busy with my day to day activities when the toughest decision I make is what to prepare for dinner or where to move the furniture I don’t really think too much about anything other than the task at hand, however give me a little time and those deep thoughts take over.
The holidays are here and with them all of the things that bring me back to my childhood and years gone by. Decorating the tree, hanging lights, baking, shopping and the neverending playlist of Christmas carols. I love the holidays. I love the sense of love, family and warmth they bring. The smell of cookies baking or singing along with a favorite carol brings me back to a simpler time. Life and adulthood has a way of destroying that for many people. The painful memories of loved ones no longer with us or those estranged from us due to others. The yearning for bygone years when children were small and when life was simpler. There are many people I know due to hardships, loss of loved ones or just due to tough lives, dread the holidays. They look at the entire season as just lots of work, unrealistic expectations and senseless spending. I do admit that part can be true, however if we all take control over our own holiday, our own lives, focus on the reason for the holiday and make our expectations realistic we can once again capture the joy. Christmas is a time of sharing and giving. Who said it had to be the latest and greatest gadget? What’s wrong with sharing something other than something material? How about spending time with a senior citizen, volunteering at a hospital or bringing some cookies to a neighbor. Why not make the holiday season about caring? If people stopped getting caught up in the secular and did a little more of the spiritual wouldn’t it be nice to have that ‘warm and fuzzy’ feeling if only for a day? Maybe it will ignite in someone who has lost it, the wonder and excitement of the holidays and give people faith in one another.
I pose to everyone over the next few weeks truly preparing for Christmas and to embrace Hanukkah and the holiday season. Invite a neighbor over to dinner, send a letter to someone you haven’t spoken to in years, call a loved one just to say ‘hi’, but do something. Truly celebrate the holidays and spread the joy of the season with everyone you know. Everyone could sure use some compassion and kindness and what better time to start than right now.