What to do during a Blue Christmas..
We have all had them.
This year it seems, at least in my tunnel vision of the world with the collection of people I know or the media I see, that we are having a collectively blue holiday season.
During the Rockefeller Christmas tree lighting ceremony this week, heavy rain soaked Al Roker and company … the stockings may have been hung from the chimney with care, but the same hackneyed stars blared.. It was the same ole same old. It made me realize that the networks and media aren’t just paying tribute to Christmas traditions, but instead milking them for every bit they can.
The same music isn’t just being re-done by stars for the fun of it, it is because the big nets don’t have many ideas.. they figure they can just shovel down the same tripe over and over again to an unsuspecting public who will, they think, most surely eat it up. I liken it to the comedic world of cinema this year.. the UK GUARDIAN recently ran a story in their international fishwrapper asking why American comedies failed at the box office this year. Why? Because they mostly were not funny and secondly were just, as Christmas specials are, dropped on people without concern for value. Kind of like last minute Christmas gifts… the bigger, the better…the larger the box, the more impressive looking under a tree. But when someone opens it and realizes they got a blender, the let down soaks in for hours…
As I age, I think I am coming to realization that I never quite understood when I was young: If you rely on the media for your Christmas spirit, don’t expect to have any. If you think that the only way to have holiday cheer is by taking part in the great experiment of corporatism, you will be distraught by the time the year ends..
Charlie Brown’s Christmas special was on ABC last night. I force my family to watch yearly. My son Ayden, now 5, quietly takes part and, as the Christmas special would unsurprisingly do, he gets a little edgy. After all, it’s quiet. It’s slow. It is not a modern day kids’ show with graphics to induce seizures and plots to make grandparents squirm… Instead it’s the rise of Brown against all of the things that Christmas are not.
During the special last evening, I overheard my wife muttering more than once that she “married Charlie Brown.” A few friends of mine, for years, have told me that the character of Charlie Brown, especially in the Christmas special, is a stark reminder to them of me. I suppose I can be a blockhead.. and yes, things I touch often mess up.. and yes, certain seasonal depression may hit this time of year. But if I am Charlie Brown, then I happily accept the role! Brown, if you realize it, is the only one searching meaning in life while all of his other friends are either content in their misery or perfectly fine not asking serious questions. Linus has already found his meaning.. and he’s keeping his blanket regardless of what his so-called friends think. He explains to Charlie that the real meaning of Christmas is a star that shines bright above a manger where the savior of the world was born. Not gifts and trees. Though in the end, the group of children are able to perform what amounts to a Christmas miracle when they flutter their hands and bring Charlie’s Christmas tree back to stunning life with color. Hark the herald indeed..
I think the idea of Christmas often brings about a certain sense of dread among some. Sadness among others. Malls were one the place to be. But sadly, if you want to attempt to gain some holiday zeal, you’ll be taking a chance by going shopping. In our modern age, if your mall is suffering, you will walk an empty mall, hearing your shoes clank against the floor and, in the distance, listen to holiday songs as they hauntingly echo through empty corridors where stores once prospered.
So how should one handle the blue Christmas?
1) Don’t push it away. Accept the blueness …accept the emptiness of your wallet.. or perhaps the emptiness of your nest as your children have flown away. This is how life is and always will be. Forcing Christmas down your own throat is similar to what Jim Jones did to his followers. The result may be similar.
2) Be angry at hearing Christmas music. But don’t just turn it off in disgust. My advice instead, as silly as this may sound: Seek out the original version of Christmas songs. They are filled with more spirit. I mean this. Nothing beats Darlene Love’s version of BABY PLEASE COME HOME (including every performance she did of the song on the yearly Late Show with David Letterman program… I miss that this time of year)..
3) Stop paying attention to yourself. We are told this is the time of ‘giving.’ I do not think most people realize that for a big number of others, it is the time for receiving. And wanting. So stop wanting..make it a light year where you buy little but give lots. Give time. Donate your hours to charity. The good stuff. Brighten someone else’s world to lighten your own.
4) Watch movies! Not just the Miracles on street flicks.. but others like SILENT NIGHT DEADLY NIGHT, the GREMLINS, the NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS, and KRAMPUS. All movies to fill your holiday with dread and joy simultaneously.
5) ….and if all else fails, just wait for January. Misery loves company. So if you cannot get over your misery don’t forget, but about the middle of January when credit card bills come in, people will be very miserable along with you.
Christmas is one of the most amazing seasons of the year .. having a child makes that the case. I truly believe that without the birth of my son, my wife and I may have been like the secluded elite couple that neighbored the Griswalds in NATIONAL LAMPOON’S CHRISTMAS VACATION. Ayden made our lives better and more complete. That said, being an adult with a mind that never stops, the blueness of the holiday can still creep in. The part that keeps me sane and secure in the season is this: Christmas is the most paranormal time of the year, more on that in an upcoming post, and Santa Claus (seriously) is real. I believe. I will get to that in a future post as well.
Saint Nick awaits..
It’s too cold for clowns,
And it’s time to make the season Great.