Let your heart be light

Photo by kaleb tapp

Christmas and the holidays are here. And with it the regular host of events, traditions and festivities.

Is what I would be saying if there was anything regular about this year, whatsoever.

But we will make do with all the small little celebrations we can. We will take the good with the bad as folks have for holidays centuries past.

There are always bad parts to the holidays, of course. We may remember “around” the bad bits like we eat around the frozen parts of the holiday ham our familial chefs may have not quite cooked to fruition.

I know, for myself, that there are certain aspects to the holidays that make me sigh in frustration and angst every single year.

The majority of which have to do with Sir Paul McCartney’s “Wonderful Christmastime.”

If I were given the opportunity, I could write an entire column just devoted to my single-minded hatred of the so-called holiday classic.

Paul McCartney may be one of the founding members of the most popular rock band of all time, but his karmic balance has equalled out to neutral with the release of this saccharine, soulless holiday cash-in.

Everything from the off-kilter children’s choir to the yawn-inducing melody; the thoughtless repetitive singing and the absolutely infectious — in the worst way — chorus.

I digress but truly: whenever I hear the opening notes of that, it just reminds me of all the things I can’t stand about the holidays.

I’m no grinch, though. I promise you that. But I’ve always noticed — even beyond the seasonal songs from former Beatles bandmates — there is an air of melancholy and heartbreak to the holiday season.

Another Christmas song, one leagues better than Sir Paul’s travesty, touches upon it quite well.

“Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” always fills me with a touch of an emotion I can’t quite place. If I had to put words to it, I’d call it a warm sadness.

Judy Garland’s version is a personal favourite and I recommend giving it a listen, perhaps even as you read this.

It’s the feeling that, despite our best efforts, the time that is supposed to be bright and cheery seems so difficult to obtain; that it’s just barely out of reach.

So what’s the average holiday fan to do? Especially with a year that has been filled with so much strife.

The best thing I can recommend is to embrace the sadness and the melancholy when it comes. Sometimes not being okay is, in fact, okay.

Putting so much pressure on making holidays perfect when we are, ourselves, imperfect beings living imperfect lives is a sure way to drive yourself batty.

Take deep breaths and unclench your jaw. Relax your shoulders and sit up straight if you can.

Remember that there will be good holidays and there will be less-than-good ones, and the world has seen itself through both and come out the other side.

Take great pleasure in small things: a Christmas cookie and a cup of peppermint tea; holiday songs and long phone calls with old friends; remember the best holidays you’ve ever had and think about all the people in the world who you adore, and remind yourself that they adore you right back.

Even if they aren’t around to tell you that: they do.

We might not get the chance to be together. It depends on what the fates allow, this season more than previous ones.

But even if we are by ourselves, we are never alone. We can still cling tightly together and remember the most important part of the holidays is our belief; the belief that the coldest, darkest days are important.

They are important not because they are cold, but rather they remind us that no matter how cold it’s gotten before, sun and spring and blooming flowers are only a season away.

Remind yourself of that believe and cling tightly to it. Cling tightly to those that are nearest and dearest to you.

And hope against hope that next year? All our troubles will be miles away.
Happy holidays and Merry Christmas.