Once again, we’ve reached that time where we’re concerned with having family over for turkey dinners, getting everyone whats on their wishlists (or something else), and welcoming a new year.
Half way through, and I feel like it should still be September or something. Every new season feels like it happens quicker than the snap of a finger, making me wonder if the traditional happy atmosphere and excitement that comes in late autumn will be gone in the next decade, leaving us only with the knowledge of our yearly duties for friends, family and co-workers — I hope not, lets not be pessimistic. I’ll try to make this not a mere obnoxious critisism of the holidays and consumerism, but rather a full look at whats going on, since I love this time of year very much.
Yesterday was black friday, when the urgency of buying makes everyone get out to the nearest mall or other shopping department as sales come out and the earliest time to do Christmas shopping arrives. As usual, some pretty crazy things happened to ensure that someone gets something as your respect for people goes down a point or two. People have to get their gifts and meet expectations, but the hammering of all this with marketing and “60% off” stuff drives people into this sense of high importance of buying things for people and getting the best deal at all times. It saddens people like me who value the sense of family, communion, charity and kindness over gifts and material satisfaction. But no matter, we’re used to this as part of the equilibrium of things originating from the heart and others from the wallet.
Before that was Thanksgiving day. I had family with us for the week to devour some turkey breast and pumpkin pie, and also, of course, to watch the Macy’s day parade. Early into the month of November, France’s captial was devistated with a series of terrorist attacks that put nations and world leaders into a massive show of solidarity for France. Not only internationally, but on the local level as well — as seen during the New York Police Department’s march in the parade, waving the French flag alongside the United States’ flag, the police department’s flag, the New York State flag and the City’s flag. My respects to the NYPD for this great show of support.
The winter season and the holidays in it always manage to be the most happy and introspective days for me personally. I have this calm, reflective aura of clearity and a sense of things being okay and not as bad as they seem. That there is hope and a light up ahead. It doesn’t stem from anything religious, but I think after years in a family and environment where christmas is seen as the most bright and celebratory day of the year (with new years eve following), I’ve developed a sense where the winter is just the best time of the year, and being with family and soaking in all the feelings mashed together releases just enough endorphins to make everything seem alright. The gifts are a factor as well, no doubt, but they only slightly make up how I feel. I love the time when saying goodbye to the cashier or the person you had a chat with in the hotel lobby is replaced with “Happy Thanksgiving”, “Merry Christmas” or “Happy Holidays”, ABC, CBS and other networks airing classic Christmas movies and episodes from TV shows, breaking out the winter clothes, having to wear socks and pants around the house, and of course — the Christmas decorations, lights and colors of red, green and white coating the cities, towns and neighborhoods, going together with everything else to form this fantastic time of year. When everyone is universally happy to some degree, and safe with friends and family.
I don’t believe in much beyond this conscience that guides the conditions of the world and our lives, but I do think that this time of year drives humankind into a better shared attitude and respect for each other. A happier and sounder feeling of life that resonates when we annually come back to these holidays and this season.