|Photo by Rodion Kutsaev from Unsplash|
By the time you’re reading this, Christmas is over. You’re either hangover or unsatisfied by the way it turned out, considering it just like any ordinary day. You post on social media about how Christmas doesn’t feel right anymore and you feel like it has changed. Your friends, and possibly strangers, agree to what you say. And you realize it’s not only you who feel the same way, and that makes you even sadder.
You reminisce the times in your childhood when you used to wait for Christmas to come as it is the happiest time of the year, and you missed that feeling. You have many things to say and to compare from when you were a child as you’re now in your twenties.
Aside from the obvious reason why 2020 is arguably the worst year ever in your lifetime, you tend to ask yourself, “Has Christmas lost its value in 2020?”
The answer is: NO. Christmas hasn’t lost its value, its zing, its excitement, its intrinsic brightness; it will never lose all the things that make it beautiful. It’s we, who have lost the appreciation and gratitude to see its value. It’s we who have ironically outgrown the idea of Christmas, thinking it’s celebrated solely for kids (leaving no room for the adults to be happy). It’s we who have made self-centered definitions about Christmas that tainted its meaning through our eyes.
Now that we’re in our twenties, a lot of things have changed and that includes our priorities and our perspective about literally everything. As we grow older, our definition of happiness becomes more complex and abstract. What makes us happy no longer comes in a cardboard box and gift wrappers. What money can buy can still make us grin, but not for too long. We may have all the material things in the world but still, have a shallow feeling in our hearts.
You try to conceal it behind presents but you fail each time — you know nothing confined in a box can ever compensate for what’s missing in your heart. You beat yourself up for being unhappy in the most beautiful time of the year. You feign your excitement by giving every member of your family gifts and presents as if that will make you feel better.
You try your best to make everyone around you happy in hopes of attracting their happiness towards you so they can rub off the negativity from you. But what you don’t get is the loneliness comes from inside you and not from anybody else. In other words, the pain in seeing someone dancing with joy during a time when all are expected to be doing that comes from jealousy and insecurity —- because that’s the state of mind you’ve prayed of having but unfortunately it’s not given to you just yet.
“Has the way we celebrated Christmas changed in 2020?” Absolutely.
Without a doubt, Covid-19 has turned the tables dramatically and is the primary cause of the problems we’re having now. But let’s not give this pandemic too much credit for the problems that have long been in our minds way before this transpired. Covid-19 only exposed where our true intentions lied. I agree that spending Christmas with your family and loved ones is the best way to spend it, but do not make it worse for anyone.
Some people have lost their families recently before Christmas and still choose to make it a happy one despite the situation. You think Christmas sucks because your siblings are now married and have families of their own? Then celebrate Christmas with them on another day. Why should we be together only on Christmas when we can have it every day?
Christmas shouldn’t be the only day you get to give gifts and have family gatherings. You think Christmas sucks because somebody in your family died? Then take the time to express what you feel so you can heal. Take the time to remove all the toxins from your body so you won’t bring them with you in future Christmases.
10 REASONS YOU THINK CHRISTMAS HAS LOST ITS VALUE:
1. Expectations. You were looking forward to a different kind of way of celebrating Christmas this year. Your expectations are crushed because of the pandemic and you don’t know how to cope with the massive changes.
2. Selfishness. You’re upset because you were not given the gifts you were asking for. You’ve been dropping hints to your families and friends the whole year but still they gave something else.
3. Ungratefulness. You think you deserve more happiness than how your celebration of Christmas turned out. You compare other people’s way of celebrating like the food they ate, the games they played, the family they’re with. As a result, you end up failing to enjoy your own.
4. Hurt. Someone hurt you on Christmas day before (possibly a breakup) and that has left a mark. You don’t want to rip that scar open so you choose not to be happy to avoid being vulnerable.
5. Grief. You lost someone recently and Christmas made you remember him/her. You don’t feel like celebrating happiness when someone you loved has been taken away from you. To you, it isn’t Christmas without that person.
6. Negativity. Other people show their disinterest for Christmas (for their own reasons) so you thought you would too. You focus on what Covid-19 has done this year and you don’t even try to salvage what you can do.
7. Self-pity. You think you shouldn’t be happy on Christmas Day because many people have it harder than you. You think being happy would be selfish and insensitive.
8. Unhappiness. You’re not happy anymore because you’re looking for something more than gifts and presents. You’ve yearned for something abstract from those around you, so their presents don’t mean anything anymore.
9. Apathy. You don’t see why you’re supposed to feel happy on Christmas and you’re not even bothered to get into the Christmas spirit. You feel like it’s a waste of time and energy.
10. Ignorance. You fail to understand the real value of Christmas. You choose not to know who you’re celebrating Christmas for so whatever you do, it won’t feel enough to you.
Albeit these reasons are perfectly valid reasons to have, let us not exploit these to an extent that we purposely neglect what we’re celebrating about and who this is all for. Let’s not forget why we travel thousands of miles to get home and eat dinner with people we grew up with. We can make any unfortunate turn of events something nice and meaningful if we choose to.
Otherwise, we would be scarred and marked every year when it’s supposed to be the most anticipated holiday of the year. We’re doomed to associating Christmas with the death of a loved one, a failure, a missed opportunity, or anything that reminds us we are less of a human.
You look at Christmas and view it as a time when you should be celebrating all the stuff you’ve done that you’re so proud of. You’ve declared it in your mind that Christmas should be a time of reckoning and thanksgiving but since you weren’t doing anything productive and important during the days back then, you blame it on the very day that’s supposed to be merry and bright.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO INSTEAD?
STOP LINKING CHRISTMAS TO A MOOD/VIBE
For some reason, you like to associate Christmas with cold nights or to the Christmas songs you hear in your neighborhood, or the unexpected present you were given by your godfather. You think it isn’t Christmas unless you feel like it is. Stop saying Christmas doesn’t feel right. Stop saying Christmas isn’t what it’s supposed to feel right now. This isn’t about you; it never has been. Christmas is about giving and sharing and loving.
STOP GIVING POWER TO NEGATIVITY
Although this year’s Christmas is very different from how it was before, this doesn’t mean no happiness can come out of it. We already know that. Now, shut up. Stop giving negativity more power over you by actualizing its presence. You say, “Christmas isn’t like what it’s used to” and keep saying it until it looks different because that’s how you manifested it. No matter how much we give Christmassy vibes to you, it won’t be enough because you already programmed your mind to not appreciate Christmas.
CHANNELING YOUR CHILDLIKE PERSONALITY
For you to appreciate Christmas as you did when you were a child, channel your childlike personality. A common misconception is referring to being childlike (innocent and appreciative like a child) as being childish (silly and immature like a child) which isn’t what I mean here. Play with your little siblings, nieces, and nephews and make jokes with your family. Open a gift like you’re about to win a million-dollar lottery.
See the balloons, confetti, and other holiday decorations as colorful designs and not as their prices when you bought them. Cook food with love and prepare the dining table like it’s your last meal with your family. As much as possible, don’t entertain or talk about taboos that make everyone uncomfortable in their seats. Share fun stories and memories like your vacation outside the country 2 years ago or your promotion at work. Do your best to create a positive, lively environment with your family for the entire duration.
UNDERSTANDING THE VALUE OF CHRISTMAS
No matter the excuse, your sentiments shouldn’t alter how you view Christmas. It’s not Christmas’s fault that you’re weak and scared to take on life as it is. Christmas is not about YOU. It’s about the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Don’t even get me started on “Jesus wasn’t even born on the 25th of December,” “Christmas is a cover-up for Saturnalia when pagans would worship and dance around the tree as their god,” or “Christmas is a time when capitalists exploit your obsession to flaunt your gold-digger traits on a holiday.” These statements don’t help alleviate what you feel inside in any way.
More specifically, this is about YOU intentionally painting Christmas as if it’s commemorated annually to fit your criteria of merry and joyful and special. Christmas can still be as merry without gifts. Christmas can still be as joyful without being greeted by your crush. Christmas can still be as special without your boyfriend there to kiss you under the mistletoe.
Let’s not allow it to reach a point where we hate Christmas for our mistakes. Looking back, you think of all the days you’ve wasted making poor choices and spending time with the wrong people — thinking about it makes your stomach churn. Somehow, you tend to blame the holiday for all the rash, stupid decisions you did because you’re pressured by the fact that it’s only a matter of days before the new year starts and you’re still in the same place as last year.
“Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.” – Laura Ingalls Wilder