A Serious Thought About The holiday Season


Today’s Music: Cheap Trick – The Flame

*APOLOGIES if this is heavy handed. It isn’t meant to be. It’s more me trying to work out certain thoughts on the holiday season, framed against someone else’s thoughts on the same. So…

Briefly on a serious note…
I’ve been toying with this post for a few days. It’s a little more serious than I usually go, but what the hell, it’s my soapbox.
If you’re looking for the lighthearted, check out the poll for this week.

This is a story about a post on another blog that moved me to the point where I actually did something. And I checked with the blogger that posting this entry was ok.

So the day after Black Friday (Mahogany Saturday?), I was trying to figure out what pepper spray had to do with giving. Even if it was in self-defense, the fact that it was needed – on the start of the Christmas season – was still a bit much, and turned me off more than usual from the season.

Christmas is not a holiday of my faith. And I am barely of my faith. But even for me, I think the definition of Christmas as a “Need To Consume” seems wrong.

So I’ve blown off the holiday season, and am looking forward to the dog days of February, when the wind will scour the streets, no one will be out (except us hardy commuters) and there really will be peace outside. Or, ironically, on Christmas eve. Most of NYC will be shut down. Hopefully it will be cold but not windy. And that’s a perfect time to stroll around Manhattan. The locals are in. The tourists are in. No one is out. And I really enjoy those moments of peace.

So, Sunday, after being barraged with stories of pepper-spray lady, and a constant stream of how wonderful Christmas is for everyone’s bottom line, and maybe they should start earlier next year to cash in even more, I was on the street, waiting for my wife. So I read the email on my phone.

There was a post from The Flame Inside, where she describes the evolution of the meaning of Christmas for her.

It’s not an easy story, but it has an uplifting ending.
She charts her Christmases from being a small child living with her mother, to an older child living with her father, to Christmas for her as an adult.

There is sadness in there. There is pain and disappointment, well beyond the “I didn’t have money to get a gift” or “I didn’t get what I want”.

At the end of the story, Flame is an adult. Who, each Christmas, finds the names of children in need on her grocery store’s Giving Tree.
She looks for notes from children that have it rough, as she did, and anonymously gives them a gift.
Asking for nothing in return.

Because the spirit of Christmas, for her, is giving to those that don’t have.

I finished the reading the post, walked into the Barnes and Noble I was standing in front of, and bought 3 books for their donation project for disadvantaged children
Because, even though it ain’t my holiday, her post moved me. And reminded me how lucky I am to have grown up and be living in the circumstances I’m in.

And that not everyone is.
And that anyone can do something to brighten someone else’s day.

I’m not trying to be preachy, and I certainly am not trying to tell anyone what to do.
I’m just saying that theflameinside put together a post that moved me beyond just feeling a need to comment.
That verbalized something I think is missing from the season that too often seems is just celebrated by lip service, but that (while nagging at me), I couldn’t quite pin down.
And I’m thankful to her for expression her feeling in a way that made sense to me, even though our backgrounds are nothing alike.

So, if you have a sec, check out the the post. Maybe it will move you. Maybe it will lead you to think about what the spirit of the season means to you, or what you’d like it to mean to you.
Maybe you’ll do something to make it what you want it to be…

Or not. Either way, y’all are always welcome here.

And that anyone can do something to brighten someone else’s day.

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20 responses to “A Serious Thought About The holiday Season

  1. Thanks for the repost. I’m off to check it out now. You express a sentiment that I’ve seen pop up across the blogosphere quite a bit recently. Maybe this distaste for the season will lead to a movement toward better things, starting with your post. πŸ™‚

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  2. Thanks H.E. I hope you enjoy her post as much as I did.

    I’m not against giving or receiving, just against the maniacal frenzy of it. Seems more like the fever pitch of college drinking this time of year.

    And I shudder to think about the types of movements my blog may inspire!

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  3. theflameinside

    I’m honored, and moved. When you said you read my post outside a B&N, I didn’t realize that you weren’t there for that purpose, already.
    I’ll be honest – most days I’m fine with the struggle I’ve had in my life. Christmas is a particularly poignant reminder, though. Rather than get lost in the sadness of it all, I choose to give back. For every 10 people I had in my life that brought a lot of pain to me, there was one person that lifted me up. On most days, I choose to focus on *them*.

    The truth is that if we only focus on pain, we’ll always be stuck there. Progress is only made in movement. Thank you for being moved and for moving in someone else’s life, however removed they might be. You’re awesome!

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  4. Great post! And thanks for the link to theflameinside. Her post was excellent.

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  5. Great post, and flame’s post was very inspiring, can’t wait to pick a kid from the Giving Tree

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  6. so touching and inspiring.

    tell us if you receive a ferrari this christmas. i hear good people get big, awesome presents.

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  7. Good post – and a side of you I haven’t seen in my short time here. Thanks for linking the post that inspired this post. My comment there is applicable here ….

    During the holidays I find stories that touch me. This year it was the ones who work at the NYC Post Office who read letters to Santa, select the ones that move them the most, and then get the gifts so they can be delivered at Christmas. Groups in other post offices do similar things, including a group here in Cincinnati.

    Christmas is a Christian holiday, and one that Christians seem to forget. On the other hand, Christmas also carries a spirit of giving that transcends across society without a religious connection – thus a reason why many nonChristians participate in giving – especially to the needy.

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    • Thanks for coming by, aFrankAngle, and for checking out theflameinside’s original post.
      I think the non-religious aspect of the season (giving to the needy) is my favorite part of it, and some of the stories (like the post office) actually give me hope for humanity.

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  8. Nicely put πŸ™‚ .

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  9. You just changed my anticipated ho-hum Christmas into something meaning ful. Thank you so much!!! I

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  10. Awesome holiday post! You definitely have something worth listening to here; not every blogger can say that!

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  11. Thanks for sharing this. Great link. I too feel the same way about Christmas with regards to the outrageous money-spending on kids, and the greed, etc etc. I’ll avoid getting on my soapbox! But it’s nice to read your similar thoughts and also those of the other blogger. A few years ago I took stock of all the giving I was doing, by way of ridiculous money-spending on friends & their their kids at Christmas and birthdays. I went cold-turkey, contacted everyone, & now I donate instead. It’s much more satisfying and rewarding.

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  12. Pingback: There Goes The Neighborhood… | Guapola

Ahem *best Ricky Ricardo voice* Babble-OOOoooo!!!

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