At this time of year, I’ve been keeping pretty busy (including working to get my career launched off the ground). And since I don’t have any memes or reviews in the works in the moment, and since I don’t want to leave my beloved DeviantWatchers hanging, here’s some thoughts I’ve decided I want to share:
So I was just watching The Grinch in preparation for the holidays (the classic Chuck Jones TV special, not either of the inferior film versions), and it just occurred to me…
Maybe Christmas is one of the most important reasons to not loose sight of your childhood. (Most original idea in the world, I know!)
It’s no secret that I’m one who tries to keep my inner child alive and active through everything I create. I abide by the philosophy of developing an adult mind, but staying a child at heart. And it’s no secret that I divulge in stories and follow writers and artists who do the same thing.
The sad truth, however, is that the world is filled with people who seem to continue to believe that being an adult means having a cold heart, chasing money and power, and always trying to be on top. You can try all your might to show them the error of their ways, and what getting enveloped in all their “adult” affairs will affect them badly in the long term, but they won’t be swayed. You can point to all the people and environments that the power-hungry higher-ups are hurting in their endeavors of trying to grab more wealth and cultural status, but to them, the wealth and cultural status is still all the be-all-end-all.
Even those who don’t have enormous amounts of power, but are just caught up in remaining financially-stable (understandably) have tendency to lose sense of life philosophies of how to be a good person, and are only focused on staying alive long enough to maybe play the next popular video game or go out for another drink at a bar.
If you ever encounter someone in your life you is totally dismissive of everything childhood-related, and is only focused on getting by in life, not about healthy relationships and being a genuinely good person, ask them to consider this:
Every year around Christmas time, we tend to see the most suicides committed by people out of fear of not being able to make ends meet.
These suicides are frowned upon, and often referred to as being weak, cowardly, selfish, etc. But instead of reprimanding the ones who suffer from this sort of holiday stress-depression combo, try looking through their perspectives for a minute:
When one doesn’t look fondly on the holidays, it tends to be due to associating it with the stress of not being able to make payments and/or maintain relationships. And the holiday is more an obligation than anything-as are the holiday specials that have aired every year since their premieres.
And when you see families actually having a good time together or hear jolly holiday carols whilst under all that stress and pressure, how does it effect you with the knowledge that you can’t feel the pleasure that others feel?
Kind of starts to kindle a sense of self-loathing in you doesn’t it? Sort of ignites that demon voice inside your head that makes you feel like an awful, undeserving human being? Or at the very least, makes you pretty fearful at the prospect of having to face the shame of falling short your relationships and/or financial stability?
But as a kid, Christmas is the time of year you look forward to most. It’s easy to say that’s because at that age, you don’t have to concern yourself with over-spending, and that is partly true. But children don’t for Christmas just because they’re more enthused with the gift-GETTING than the gift-GIVING-or at least, I wasn’t. I know that not every kids was me (in fact, I was actually very different than most kids growing up), but I was not one who cared if we spent Christmas at home or stuck at an airport. So long as I was with my family, I could open presents any day of the year. Christmas was just that one time of the year where we could reflect on everything good that’s happened to us that year, and what we had to be thankful for that we might have forgotten during Thanksgiving (or might have happened to us since).
And for most kids, Santa isn’t just a figure who gives presents. He’s a figure who encourages generosity and empathy. He’s not just someone we’re constantly trying to impress so that we get a prize for the holidays. He’s someone we admire as much as the original Saint Nicholas himself-who made things for individuals that he was sure would bring joy to them, and expected nothing in return. (It’s also why kids get scared of sitting on the lap of a cranky Santa at the mall who might go ballistic at the slightest provocation.)
Despite all the talk about the cheer the holiday classics bring, be it the Grinch or Charlie Brown or It’s A Wonderful Life, they tend to feel more and more like they’re being run each year just because they have to, because people don’t like change. Yes, we get new holiday specials every now again to potentially add to our collection, that have just as much heart put into them. But then there are those that exist just to ride the holiday-bonanza bandwagon. And it’s especially hard to come across an ADULT-oriented special that perfectly encapsulates the true spirit of the holidays, because a lot of stuff aimed at adults is focused only on winning awards and advancing careers (while just being something that can play in the background at a party).
Those who actually love these holiday classics, love them because they are the one thing that has never lost sight of the true meaning of the holidays, and those who created them did so out of the sense that they owed their audiences something positive to take with them and spread across the globe.
There is a great significant difference between remembering your childhood and appreciating it, just as there is a great difference between simply reciting all the Christmas philosophies you hear on television, and understanding what they truly mean. People like The Grinch’s Seuss and Peanuts’ Schulz have faced continual hardships growing up, but always shared how they never lost sight of what being a child was like for them, and how those years were actually the most important of their lives.
As adults, we tend to get so caught up in the prospect of success and treat it as the be-all-end-all to being alive. Be born to go to school so you can get a job and not starve to death, just make enough money to retire, spend the last few years of your life in a nursing home…And the messages of those holiday classics (or just classics in general), just tend to be regurgitated at best, like when a kid doesn’t truly learn material in school and just memorizes it to pass a test.
The people who are on the brink of snapping and taking their lives due to the stress of the holidays, they don’t need your scolding or disapproval. They need your support.
Yes, it feels natural to have to disregard that inner child in order to toughen up and be able to bear the burden that is the adult world. And becoming an adult also coming to terms with truths that are hard to acknowledge, and fell like they exist just to kill your happiness and faith in humanity. Whenever I’m in a situation where I’m confronted with the cold hard truth, I just do what every adult does and press on, but then I do that one thing that children who love Santa do-I extend generosity without expecting anything in return. Being the highlight of other peoples’ lives will give yours some purpose!
And how does one deal with the stress of maintaining your relationships with loved ones during this time of year? Here’s one solution: remind the people closest to you how much they mean to you year-round. It really helps a lot more than you may realize.
Indeed, presents are special because you only get them on occasion, but you don’t have to get presents for your loved ones specifically on holidays. You can do it any day of the year just to let them know that they mean so much to you. And heck, getting them a gift some random day can make up for any unexpected circumstance that pops up and prevents you from being able to get them something for Christmas or on their birthday.
And of course, there’s the fact that the root of holidays happen to come from religion, which is no stranger to controversy. So you know how to overcome the obstacle of having different core values and beliefs? Take the time to give people the best regards, whatever holiday they celebrate. And whatever their outlook on life is, encourage them to believe in what benefits them most! (And yes, I would dare say that if your a Democrat, take this time of year to give a genuine best holiday wish to a Republican!)
I’m not particularly religious, but I am spiritual. And I think the most important thing about being spiritual is to believe in something more important that oneself. When Christmas time comes around, I’ll gladly listen to carols that I like, but moreover, I always make the effort to play songs that speak to me on a more personal level an kindle my sense of self-importance (these two songs in particular are ones I play around that time).