I woke up this morning and turned on the television. The very first thing I saw was a man wearing a baseball cap. His face was pleasant, and he had a warm, gravely voice. He warned me that chaos, pandemonium and holiday madness were coming. Then he asked the daunting question:
“How will you survive?”
I panicked because I knew he was right. The holidays can be a tough time for a lot of people. There is so much to do: decorating, buying presents, cooking, baking, wrapping, sending out cards.
And what about those presents? What if you get the wrong one? Won’t the person get annoyed? What if they don’t like you after that? Isn’t that just too much to handle?
The horror of it all! Wouldn’t we all be better if we just hid inside our houses until the whole thing blew over?
I am so glad that the man warned me about what was coming. Now I can take steps to prepare for what he described as a horrible time.
I can stock up on food so I don’t have to go out. I can take my phone off the hook to avoid annoying calls from people who want to wish me holiday cheer and friendship – and love.
Whew! That was a close one!
But the news is not all doom and gloom, my friends. The happy man went on to tell me that I should not panic because my local Ford dealer would help get me through the tough times. I was so relieved after he told me. Now I know that someone is out there who can help me. So, the next time I have a panic attack, all I have to do is to visit the Ford store and they will calm me down. What a blessing!
But wait, there’s more!
I kept watching TV, and it seemed like EVERYONE had a cure for my bad feelings. People kept coming on and telling me that if I walked into their stores and spent all of my money, my Christmas would be joyous, everyone would be happy, and life would be perfect.
Wow! Just think of it: spend all your money, surround yourself with things, and life will be perfect. And here I thought that life meant more than that. Silly me. I should have been watching TV all along. I should have been following their advice. No wonder I struggle all the time. What an amazing revelation I made today!
The truth is that I am being sarcastic. I hope that you realized this from the start. This is not the key to happiness or to having a wonderful life. In fact, it is just the opposite.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong than buying presents for your loved ones. And it sure is fun to receive them as well. But when we start placing too much importance on these material things, we distance ourselves from life itself. In 20 years from now, will you look back and say 2013 was a great year because you got the iPhone 5? Or would the year be better if you made a new friend, fell in love, or helped change someone’s life in a positive way?
Think about it. What is meaningful in life? That is what we should be chasing. That is what we should be spending our lives doing – not worrying if the table is set perfectly or we got everyone everything on their list. These are mere trinkets along the way, meaningless embellishments that overshadow what is important.
Think about this, too: when a person’s house burns down, what is the first possession that they try to recover? The answer is: their photographs. They look to hold onto the people and meaningful memories of their lives.
Raise a glass of milk and make a toast to the good times. Whip out that accordion and belt out a few choruses of “Feliz Navidad” and “Holly Jolly Christmas.” Hold onto your loved ones tight, because that is what the other part of the holiday is all about.
The holiday spirit will not be found in a box. It will be found in the heart. That is how one “survives” the holidays: with love.