The winter season immediately thrusts upon us, holidays we had better be prepared for, even in the midst of light deprivation and a poor economy.
The concept of a happy holiday, a horn of plenty or a trick or a treat has been ingrained into our culture.
The crunch for many begins at Halloween and moves into Thanksgiving with a rapid pace. We prepare a large array of “treats” grabbed from bowls and quickly stashed into bags by (excuse the comparison but if this were a different age) beggars, who are permitted this one day only to move from door to door filling each bag before sun down at Halloween.
Mountains of mashed potatoes smothered in gravy, are dreamed up before ever sitting at a linen covered table steeped in the aroma of freshly roasted turkey. Guest lists are tallied, (don’t invite you know who) it’s the season of thankfulness! Warning, if you have no treat sack, no table cloth, no gift to wrap.
Here’s the latest alert: neither fresh nor frozen turkeys will be available to customers over 18 pounds per the most recent commercials for 2013, if you’ve got your heart set on a “Butter Ball.” You’ll have to do without or lower the standards this year.
The stores display wreaths and bargains for Christmas before the turkey has cooled, or the first snow has fallen. Bombarded with traditional melodies of yesteryear in every public place, telephone poles dangle weather proof colors of gold, red, and green, is it truly a time of merriment this year?
For many it is the beginning of a deep-seated depression that will last through the winter wonderland season of gifts, ending with an over indulgent night of drinking and talk of memories on New Years Eve. The focus always being what we will do BETTER in the New Year, manipulating past regrets into resolutions we’ve never had control to change in the first place.
This Melancholy is an individual’s plight, stemming from a person’s history therapists claim. A sad family life perhaps, a destructive life style that leaves a scar, losses that loom ever larger because they are no more, be it a person, a pet or the car that was repossessed.
It is Socio-economic, they say. But clearly, “It is NOT my problem, I have enough to deal with right now.”
Sound familiar? It should.
For a moment, let us consider one simple truth that will bring some clarity as to why such a phenomena as “from sea to shining sea” depression sets in, during a time we profess to be a season of joy and thankfulness.
Simply because it ISN’T, it simply isn’t. We look around at advertisements featuring rosy cheeked children, bundled up in brand new winter snow suits. Happy families opening a gloriously wrapped package they’ve chosen from an artfully arranged PILE of gifts under the decked out tree of their warm candlelit home. As if that is the way it should be, but it isn’t.
Martha Stuart, made popular by her ability to craft items from household goods all those years ago makes gift boxes from supplies only available in Australia or Switzerland now-a-days.
Families are left alone without their lovers, their brothers, their sisters even after the claim that the war is finally over, but no one is home yet.
And still we wonder why as we look from store front to store front, from one commercial or spectacularly decorated lawn, bejeweled in Christmas finery; why it is that we feel an ever present burden?
When did the altruistic endeavors this country was held infamous for become a backdrop for the meaning behind the winter holidays? When did we begin to pass by those who look half frozen on a blustery winter Thanksgiving and not invite them in for a shared meal? When did the meanings get so lost?
If you’re looking for an answer to the winter blues this season, look first toward accepting what you do have, and being thankful for what you recognize as gifts. Even if it is only the chance to awake each day and start over toward goals and hopes for the future.
Take a hold of what you see. If there is an opportunity to grow beyond the limits this commercialized world has created; the gradual “rules of engagement” that have been filtered down to the masses. If you find you are able to give the gift of joy, give it wisely, and be of good cheer.
If you find yourself a bit stressed out, and just can’t put your finger on why, talk to someone less fortunate, you’ll see soon enough there is always something more to be thankful for.
When looking to help those in need this season, look no further than your own neighborhood. And if you find you are in need of help this year, look no further than your own neighborhood community center or church.