I must say that my heart is breaking more this year than any other year that I have seen…

In years not so long past I have packed the family into our van and driven around the city singing Christmas carols while we stared at all the pretty Christmas lights, but this year there are blocks and blocks of houses without so much as a single string of lights. (It used to be that even apartment buildings had lights on almost every balcony but now they are just dark, cold cement towers in the skyline.)

This year I have been bombarded with all kinds of retail advertising telling me to selfish; and how much I deserve something special for Christmas, and worst of all how I should get it for myself because of all the hard work I am doing. Btw…the hard work is called life. (It is our responsibility as people to care for others, not just at this time of year, but especially and more so at Christmas!)

I have been to the busy shopping centers and endured the line ups trying to find that perfect little something that will light up the face of someone I care for. I have stopped at my favorite coffee shop; grocery store; bank; and even greeted my regular bus driver, but not once this season has anyone wished me a “Merry Christmas”? (Are we not supposed to be even friendlier at this time of year? Is the joy of this season not supposed to remind us to care; to share; and to be happy in doing just that?)

Here it is 10 days before Christmas and I just want to stand in the middle of a crowd and yell, “Merry Christmas,” at the top of my lungs! “And while I have your attention, can I just remind you all that this holiday is about love! It’s not about buying the latest and greatest and most expensive things, (things which will be obsolete by next year anyway…but that’s for another story about consumerism…lol). The Christmas season is not about spending until you drop and worrying about how you are going to pay for January’s bills; it’s not another excuse to buy a new outfit and stylishly go to all the parties – it is about spending time with family and friends to share memories of the past, while making new ones that will carry you through the times when life gets in the way of enjoying these pleasures”.

Turn on your radio and listen to the words of the old familiar Christmas carols…hear the meaning; watch an old classic Christmas movie or cartoon and remember when you were a child…even I, who didn’t have much of a family life, looked forward to the Christmas holidays. (We never got spoiled, actually my family was never on the leading edge of technology or fashion trends but we were a family, if only for that one brief time of the year!) I even remember the playful smile on my father’s face when we opened our brand new game system, only to find out that our parents had been playing it every night after we went to bed for that last month. I miss dinners at my grandparent’s house, even though they always wrapped all the presents at once and then forgot which package was who’s when they went to label them. I have tried to share these values with my kids… we decorated cookies and made funky ornaments for the tree and yes, even as adults, we still sing Christmas carols! These are the special things and happy times that I want to share with my new little grandson, but I am scared that in a few more years no one will remember any of the holiday cheer and traditions that have been part of Christmases past since our parents and their parents were young.

So to all of you, no matter what your background or religion, I wish you a very Merry Christmas and may your New Years be full of Joy, Peace and Love!