Christmas is here, for the delight of the many and the bother of many others.
Although few of us know it, the fact is the origins of this celebration refer to death and rebirth. Before becoming a symbol of Christianity, the pagan civilizations were celebrating this time of the year because represented the coming of the light after a long night. In fact, in this period the days are shorter and darkness prevails over light.
Therefore, Christmas would be the perfect moment to dive within ourselves and try to find out what kind of person we become throughout the year. Christmas should promote inner search and become an opportunity for change and rebirth. However, at some point in history everything went wrong, Christmas was filled with contradictions and became a consumer frenzy.
Then, for many people a period that should be of peace, reflection and rebirth, becomes an ordeal that is repeated year after year. Although many don’t want to recognize it. And the reasons are various:
1. Gifts. A gift must be given without seeking anything in return, simply because we’re pleased to make this gesture and make someone happy or surprise him/her. However, Christmas is a different thing, it is rather an exchange of gifts (often useless and rather ugly), which only serves to make many people feel under pressure to correspond with a gift of similar value, although their budget won’t permit.
2. The obligation to be happy. Sales of antidepressants increase by 40% during Christmas. While some are set in bright colors, enjoy the Christmas lights and listen to Christmas carols with a smile, to others this “forced hapiness” is simply unbearable. Loneliness, the memory of those who no longer exist or just the expectation of happiness generated on this time not only causes sadness but also genuine distress.
3. Christmas carols. I don’t have a good voice and don’t even sing very well, but I like listening to good music, I am an inveterate music lover and do not compromise on these issues. Therefore, the Christmas songs and carols make me the creeps. And worst of all is that some choruses (especially the more cloying) can get into your head for hours, as intruders, those choruses keep repeating as if it were a broken record.
4. Rituals. Rituals are nice as long as we understand its origin and can obviate them as we please. The rituals that have been passed down culturally, that don’t make sense, are only a straitjacket. And Christmas is full of rituals repeated year after year, by which the family or friends declare you an ungrateful person if you have the audacity to propose a change. Rituals are comforting, but sometimes you just need to change. And we must have the freedom to do so.
5. The Christmas decorations. I like Christmas lights, they lend a festive air to the environment and even transmit you joy. However, as Christmas is a propitious time for the excesses, most people use this excuse to bring out its kitsch side, that have remained more or less hidden throughout the year. As a result and in the best case, the Christmas lights become an offense to the aesthetic sense, in the worst case, they end up damaging the retina.
6. The religious conflicts. Christmas is a time of peace, but we forget it when we stubbornly cling to rituals. Then appear parents who don’t want their children intone multicultural songs where Arabic verses appear, then come atheists who want their children not to sing Christians carols and Catholics, who throughout the year didn’t even remember what the church is and never read a gospel verse in their life, but want to sing Adestes Fideles as if was a question of life or death and get bothered because at the school where their children go have decided to prohibit Christian songs.
7. Pretend that everything is fine. At Christmas everybody wishes you happy holidays, even those who don’t know and have no intention of knowing. And we smile at a colleague who has made our life miserable all year round. The excuse for such hypocrisy is that we must be better people. Then we feel guilty if we do not correspond with the same enthusiasm and outline a face that no one could be mistaken for a genuine Duchenne smile. Of course, I have nothing against putting old grudges aside and try to be better people, the problem is this attitude is as ephemeral as Christmas. And this isn’t called change, but hypocrisy.
8. The obligation of being accompanied. At Christmas everybody wonders what will you do. And if you tell them you’ll be at home, alone (or rather, enjoying your own personal company) they can’t help suppress a micro expression of pity. So you end up pitying yourself. After all, many micro expressions can’t be wrong, don’t you think? And in that case it is likely you’re ending up at a party where you didn’t want to be, to avoid loneliness that didn’t bother you but that made you think something should go horribly wrong for you to be alone at the time. However, I think that Christmas is not sufficient to stop applying reason the saying “better alone than in bad company”.
9. The default congratulations. I mean those default postcards suffocating your inbox which are chosen in a blink of an eye (or even with the eyes closed) and then sent virtually to all contacts address, just to give a good impression. And by the way we’re here, we can also include those uncomfortable compliments received from all the “formers” (friends, collegues…) with remorse, people you don’t hear since centuries but ironically pretend to remember you with a sweetened message they sent to 100 other possibly more contacts. Postcards and greetings that are irrelevant but make us wonder: “Do I really have to answer ?!”
10. The excesses. Overeating, excessive alcohol, excessive gifts, excessive lights, excess of consumption, excess of Christmas carols … At Christmas everything is maximized, but we don’t know exactly why. In fact, you’ve probably even sung “Happy Xmas” by John Lennon and Yoko Ono without knowing when or why it was written. In fact, the song is of 1971 and was written as a protest song against the Vietnam War. The text should make us reflect on the fact that while we spend and incur completely avoidable excesses, in other parts of the world there’re people dying because of war or famine.
Anyway, Merry Christmas to all! Seize this moment to look within you, to share with people that you really care and do those things that you really love. Only then it will make sense.