It's the most wonderful time of the year, or so it is said.
Granted, we get together with family and friends, donate our time or make monetary contributions to help others and think about all that we have and take time to appreciate those around us.
However, I have to wonder whether it is "the most wonderful time of the year".
I personally think it is the most stressful time of the year.
Right around Thanksgiving, a frenzy begins. We begin to plan holiday meals, go to or have parties, make lists of people to buy gifts for and then go shopping for them, decorate our homes, send out holiday cards, cook large meals, bake cookies, cakes and bread, invite friends and family into our homes. It can be downright exhausting!
Some of us plan ahead. We create a plan and meet our deadlines well in advance. Others, well....not so much. Many of us wait until the last minute and then run around like chickens without heads, trying to get everything done in time.
We are only days away from Christmas and so many of us are just getting started. We are out at the malls and stores trying to figure out what to get everyone and dealing with crowded parking lots and long lines and perhaps picked over merchandise. I always wonder why people put themselves through all of this. Talk about stress!
Can you truly enjoy the holidays when you are exhausted and frazzled? It doesn't sound like fun, does it?
Although it certainly is a magical time of year for kids and adults alike, there is something to be said about the commercialized portion of the holidays. We feel obligated at times to purchase gifts for people that simply just add to their clutter.
Think about how many times you might have received a gift from someone that you bring home, put away and never look at again. You feel you can't get rid of it because someone gave it to you.
For me, personally, it is more about spending time with those I love and slowing down to appreciate them. Granted, I like gifts as much as the next person, but if you ask me what I really want this holiday season, it's the opportunity to hang out with friends and family and tell them how much I appreciate them being in my life. It's about giving joy to others. That, to me, is what the holidays are for.
So, perhaps next time around, we can all make it a point to plan in advance, purchase less and have more time to spend with those we love. Less clutter, less stress and more joy will make this the most happiest time of the year.
I wish all of you a Happy Hanukkah, Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year! See you again in 2015.