The Christmas Holiday Season

by John A
(Tyler, TX)

As with many folks, the Christmas Holiday is one filled with unpleasant memories or unrealistic expectations. It's a time when we tend get in debt or spend a lot of free money trying to make others happy. For many years I was one of those people.

Since my retirement nearly four years ago, I have had to re-prioritize my life style and attitude about many things. Christmas is one of those events that I struggled with for years because of not only the unreasonable expectations, but also some unpleasant memories.

But a lot of that changed a couple of years ago when I realized that it wasn't important to keep up with the Jones or to buy another person's happiness through material items. Those things will soon fade away. They're just things...if you know what I mean?

I came to the realization that Christmas really isn't a holiday of exchanging presents, sugar plums, elves, Santa, Bing Crosby singing "White Christmas" or listening to Burl Ives sing "Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer".

Instead it is a state of mind that we must carry throughout the year; where we treat our fellow man with respect, friendship, dignity & courtesy. It's a time where we may need to renew our personal relationship with God, or who ever you view as a higher power. It's not about religion since that's a man made thing and something Jesus railed against during his entire ministry in the Christian world. It's the personal relationship that's important.

Instead, I use Christmas in service to others. I've mentioned in previous posts on this site that I volunteer at a local hospital. It's a time of year sick folks struggle with illness or injury and what better food for the soul can one get and receive by bring a smile to one or more of these folks? Also, it's a time to rekindle those friendships that seem to have slipped through the cracks somewhere down the road already traveled.

So here's one suggestion for all my friends that I don't know. Do this after all the packages are unwrapped and our bellies full from a mid-day Christmas dinner and you begin to feel that normal emotional let down. At the end of the day, why not invite a small group of friends and family over for a nice get together just to share time, conversation, coffee or even a glass a wine. No Gifts...just their presence. End the day on a positive note instead of feeling down after all the hustle and bustle of the Christmas season has ended.

From a personal standpoint, I think American society has really bastardized the Christmas holiday; where store start promoting in August, it's gimme, gimme, gimme, to go into debt during difficult economic times, trying to fulfill unrealistic expectations and wonder how the bills are going to be paid. Instead, it's the quality of time, developing meaningful memories and the sharing of each other that makes this time of the year special. Just take it one step further by making each day of the year special for yourself and others. There is no greater gift than the giving of yourself in service to others and to friends. Try it, you may like it!!!!!

Comments for The Christmas Holiday Season

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Christmas Holiday Season
by: John A

Hola Ricardo!!!

Que tal? In regards to your comments, there are tons of folks here in Texas who would love nothing more than secede from the Union since the election. I hear comments on a daily basis from those on streets and in the news. Folks are pretty unhappy/disgusted to say the least. The sentiments are pretty much statewide.

On another note and getting away from politics: It would be nice sitting south of the border sipping on a nice Margarita or a Dos XX while watching the waves come off the Yucatan or Guaymas coasts during the Christmas holiday. The warm weather in either spot would suit me well since I do not like the cold. Just thing about the potential of a "White Christmas" makes me shiver to the bones for this West Texas fellow.

As I think about Christmas trees, we often decorated Yuccas during the that holiday. It was really a unique sight to see Christmas balls and lights strewn over the spines of these desert plants that often grow to 100 years of age or more.

Then we would take small paper bags, fill the bottom with sand and light a candle and place it inside the bag on Christmas eve. These are called luminarias and their origin comes from Mexico. We would line the sidewalks, tops of brick walls, and street curbs with many of these luminairias. They give off a soft golden or brownish glow of light and are beautiful. It's a tradition to light these on Christmas eve in the desert southwest of Texas, New Mexico and Arizona.

For those folks who haven't seen these, visit to get a better idea and appreciation of their simplicity and beauty.

When I grew up in far West Texas, Christmas was a very celebratory occasion with the Mexican culture. The aroma of their wonderful food, the vivid colors they used in decorations and listening to Christmas carols in Spanish were very fond memories. It's a time for their families to get together and celebrate. And they certainly know how to celebrate since they typically have large close knit families. From my perspective, I think they have the right attitude about Christmas where spending meaningful time with friends and family are paramount. That's something we've lost in this nation since there are certain segments of society trying to eliminate/discourage religion or religious customs.

....Comments to John From Tlyer
by: Ricardo

...Hey John, it has been a long time since you have "posted" on this web site. I was beginning to think that "TEXAS" had succeeded from the union after the election results, and that you may have wound up south of the border at some hacienda sucking on a cocktail of your choice. I could not agree with you more concerning your recent post as far as the holidays are concerned....God bless, and happy holidays....hope you enjoyed my ramblings on "Hoppy."

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