By Jean Bernard Talon
Cheesy songs, commercialisation, annoying parties to attend…the list could be as long as one can imagine with individual and occasionally collective critiques of this most famous time of year: Christmas.
The more important thing to keep in mind is that there are people that celebrate the holidays (Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Christmas) sincerely, and for many religiously. There are people who are truly elated during this season; so before you start to let off a stress fuelled “Bah! Humbug!”, remember a few simple tips and social graces:
1) If you have nothing nice to say, then say nothing at all. This is a general rule, but a good one to follow when overwhelmed with holiday cheer.
2) Try to focus on at least one or two memorable holiday moments; these could be recent or from childhood that - if needed - can be shared in conversation while sipping mulled wine by the fire.
3) Avoid holiday hotspots. If you feel affronted by the tsunami of glad tidings, then probably best to stay away from large department stores or shopping centres. These places can be maddening at the best of times. DO take in your nearby shops for gifts or goodies and have a lovely lunch at your local pub, it’s more original and saner.
4) Treat the holiday music, lights, decorations and food as ephemeral fun because a long winter is ahead, and one should appreciate the fun and frivolity before all the seriousness of life returns all too quickly.
5) Wishing people a Merry/Happy Christmas or Hanukkah isn’t much different than saying ‘good morning’ or ‘good night’, and it can actually make other people feel good with a rather minimal effort to spread a little seasonal mirth.
6) Remember the holiday season is a period of giving, which has nothing to do with consumerism. So, if one really wants celebrate the winter gaiety, why not go to a carol singing at a church or on the street, attend synagogue, volunteer at a soup kitchen or animal shelter, or just be closer to friends and family and simply give more of you.
“And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.“ - Dr. Seuss
Merry Christmas – Jean Bernard Talon