serene ambition™

transforming the culture of aging

Holidays

Posted by Jim Selman on 12/16/06

Well, today is the first day of Hanukkah (sometimes transliterated as Chanukkah), the Festival of Lights or Rededication. It is the midpoint in the season between Thanksgiving and New Year—the long Holiday Haul. Not only do we consume a lot, but it also consumes a lot of us.

The usual litany of seasonal woes includes the parties, booze, food and usual foolishness around the office. Lots of work gets pushed into the “New Year”. Many begin taking inventory on how they did in the prior 11 months and get ready to ‘re-up’ for next year’s resolutions. There are also those wonderful experiences of charity and love extended to the less fortunate in the community and the joy of just being with family and recollecting Christmases past.

For some, the holidays trigger other not-so-happy experiences—lost loved ones, childhood disappointments, loss of faith, old shames and broken dreams. This is usually the ‘bah humbug’ crowd. These people need our compassion and love even more, something that we all learned from Dickens.

So here I am approaching my 64th Christmas and I still love the holidays, including all the over-the-top excessiveness. It is a season in which being ‘young at heart’ takes on special significance. The other day I saw a department store Santa and felt an inexplicable urge to tell him what I wanted under the tree. Oh well, the truth is that the tree is now a fancy centerpiece on the dining room table with a few decorations left over from years in the attic that survived last summer’s yard sale. Presents are now more intangible and easier to wrap—things that represent future experiences like airplane tickets, gift certificates, prepaid days at the spa, and ‘dinners out’.

So if there is any extra wisdom in age about how to handle the holidays, it is mostly related to taking it easy, smiling at the hoopla and reminding yourself and others that the message of the season isn’t about how many shopping days are left. The heart of Christmas, which sometimes gets lost in all the marketing hype, is to remember all the shopping is really an excuse for saying “I love you”. It doesn’t matter whether we are Christian or Jewish or Moslem. This is the season for all of us to be grateful to our ‘higher power’ (or whoever or whatever we credit with all the miracles in our life) for what we do have, especially our loved ones and our lives.

To the Curmudgeons who have nothing better to do than resist Christmas trees in public spaces or debate the political correctness of putting angels on wreaths — well, I can only say this to the limits on joyous celebration your holiday season would push on us — BAH HUMBUG.

© 2006 Jim Selman. All rights reserved.

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One Response to “Holidays”

  1. Rhea said

    I love the holidays, too. The lights, the way people try to be more generous, the parties. I am Jewish, so I am an observer of Christmas, but I love it that way!

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