I worry that Christmas is forcing us to be more loving than we really are.
There is a lot of pressure out there to have a perfect Christmas.
But let's face it. Those relatives you avoid all year don't suddenly become lovable just because they buy a few presents and you're all eating at the same table.
No matter how festive the Christmas party, those are the same co-workers you complain about all year.
Don't get me wrong, I like the season and all that goes with it -- except the 24-hour-a-day bad Christmas music. (About now I would like to take that little drummer boy's sticks and ...)
But I think nostalgia is adversely affecting us all.
All we see are Christmas specials about love and warmth. Everything has a happy ending. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but like most things you see on television, odds are it isn't an accurate portrayal of life.
Everybody remembers how great Christmas was when they were kids. I think that was mainly because we didn't have to do any of the grunt work.
Somebody has to cook all that food for the Christmas feast, or pay for it if it is catered. Someone has to do all the shopping and agonize over what to buy. Someone has pick up all the wrapping paper after the opening havoc.
Everyone wants that old fashioned Christmas with a warm fire, and egg nog and a fresh Christmas tree smelling of pine and great decorations. Christmas brings up illusions of that down-home holiday at Grandma's house in the country.
But as Charlie Brown notes in his Christmas special, "My Grandma lives in a condo." Or maybe that was the Thanksgiving one. See how confusing this gets?
Everything changes, sometimes for the better. Just relax and don't let the Christmas hype overtake the Christmas hope.
It's OK not to be wild about getting to see some people you avoid the rest of the year.
It's OK not to look forward to the extra weight you know you will put on.
It's OK not to be overjoyed at a season that actually has a lot of stress.
But, if you can relax, enjoy what you can, endure what you must and know the difference between the two, it will relieve a lot of the pressure. And you will probably have a good time.
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