Trish and Harold's Weblog

News, information, and random thoughts from the busy lives of Trish Egan and Harold Phillips.

Monday, December 07, 2009

12 Posts of Christmas: A Change of Season

(Let me note right at the outset - the title of this post isn't meant to be exclusionary. Those of you who know me know I'm not one of those fervent "Merry CHRISTMAS (!!!)" types - Bill O'Reilly could do us all a favor and shut up for a while. The "12 Posts of Non-denominational Holiday Spirit" just didn't quite fit in the title box :) )

So, here we are again... the festive Holiday season. Can you feel it in the air? Can you see it on the faces of people passing on the street?

Um... yeah. Probably not. This year's holiday season is a tough one... the national unemployment rate is at around 10% (of course, that's the "non-adjusted" rate; when you look at people who are working part-time, who've fallen off the unemployment rolls, or who have given up looking, we're talking about a much higher number). Obama just announced he's sending more troops to Afghanistan. The amount of political division in the country is at an all time high... People are, frankly... worried this holiday season.

Now, if you've been reading my blog for a while, you know that I'm kind of a sap when it comes to this season... As I've said so many times before, I don't LOVE CHRISTMAS in the way some people do... the season isn't, in my opinion, about commerce and presents and decorations and spend-spend-SPEND!! This year more than most, it seems, we're being told that we MUST go to the mall and buy everything we can - it's our patriotic duty to support the corporate economy, right?

I've always rejected that notion (probably because I was raised right, huh Dad?); whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanuka, The Solstice, Kwanza, Toji... this is a season about people coming together and celebrating each other - it's about the human family turning away the dark and cold by enjoying the best that we have to offer one another.

We all know that's what we should be doing right now, as we hunker down and stare at our checkbooks and the news and fret about what Aunt Zelda is going to expect us to do at the family dinner... we know that we should be indulging the child within us, that we should be trying to re-capture that holiday magic even as the adult in us sweats the concrete realities of our lives. When you think about it, that's the very definition of "holiday magic" - putting aside the worries and concerns of daily life and focusing, instead, on that child-like joy that comes from doing things for other people; from gathering with friends and family with no agenda other than to share their company; from finding the warmth inside ourselves to battle the chill of modern reality.

Well, it seems to me that this season is a collective effort - we can keep the spirit in our own hearts, but we won't feel it in others unless we share it, and encourage those around us to help. So, as the title of this post indicates, I'm going to be focused on doing just that for the next 18 days. I'll still blog as infrequently as usual about what's going on in Trish and my life, about our work and play... but this month I'm going to try and share a little holiday cheer with all of you - and I'd ask that you help spread it around to your own friends, families, and contacts. I don't know if I'll actually make it to12 whole posts (you know how things get in the way of my blogging...) but I'm certainly going to give it my best shot.

So, be prepared for festive holiday posts ahead... and if you see me in person, don't be surprised if I reach into my pocket and hand you a candy cane!