Christmas in this time of Change

FeaturedChristmas in this time of Change

Life has changed in 2020, individually, society, culture, and religion. Currently, striving to remember that change is inevitable. Change triggered by life choices, community growth or decrease, medical, culture, and social change as events and individuals age and change their view on life and how they impact society’s culture and society. Contemplating the United States community, I see from behind a register and on the floor helping people find things. People used always to thank and wish the employee a Merry Christmas. Now, very little is said, even for my part personally. Christmas is a time of incredible joy from a faith perspective. We are celebrating the Birth of Jesus Christ.  

No, this is not; it would be best to say Merry Christmas, or I feel attacked religiously. I felt joy when someone wished me a Merry Christmas when mental health-wise struggled with my depression. It was just a reminder of seeing children get gifts, celebrating family and friends, calling or sending cards to people in the address book that brought up memories of why they were in that book. Sometimes calling them because you realized you had not talked to them in six months. I feel on edge now in saying Merry Christmas. I ran across the below articles when I searched for why it has become a stressor and taboo to say Merry Christmas. Even Happy Holidays can set people off.  

Had gone in search of why the increase in past years and even worse this year there is no joy but hesitancy in wishing someone Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays.

One was from Politico Magazine, who presented the article written by Daniel Denvir, who works at the Philadelphia City Paper written on December 16, 2013,   A Short History of the War on Christmas.  Found it fascinating that as many things impacting our culture, it began from a small Society or Association that wanted to change their culture. Does reinforce a small group of individuals changes whether that is good or bad; we shall see as the years move forward. The information presented was excellent in that it showed the polarizing extremes of liberal versus conservative sides. My takeaway is that Christmas is not to listen to the extremist and celebrate Christmas based on a family tradition, not a small society segment.  

Christmas meant to generate hope and goodwill for all, not anguish unless there was a loss personally. If there are no traditions, make some of your own. It could revolve around helping an individual or groups all of next year or getting together with friends in the same situation. Get out there, be creative, make your tradition, meditate on your faith, or begin contemplating what worked and what did not, and how to make changes starting in the new year. Moving away from the minefield of Christmas, I tried to find a positive spin toward Christmas.

I came across an article in Country Living by Rebekah Lowin written December 9, 2020, reviewing how Merry Christmas came around. Here’s the Origin of ‘Merry Christmas’ and Why We Say It Today short article but was packed with information that Merry Christmas may have begun in the fifteen hundreds. Found it fascinating that the phrases in many forms have been around for centuries. My takeaway is that using Merry Christmas is not an insult; it is a tradition. Let’s bring joy back by returning to a practice that was an aspect of culture, not an attack on religious freedom. Ground roots action, let’s say Merry Christmas.  

For some prayerfully many, the words are the reminder that Christ Our Saviour was born. For others, it is a celebration of family traditions. Merry Christmas is a cultural phrase of joy, peace, and sentiment. Many need this more than ever to figure out how they will make the money stretch to handle the basics. Others need the reminder of joy in the world, not the negative.

For me, Merry Christmas brings back memories of being at my grandparents baking cookies, helping decorate, and helping cook the Christmas meal. Remember listening to Christmas Music on records from John Denver, Frank Sinatra, and many more, and the Snoopy Christmas Album and love the below song. Sitting writing this up cannot even tell you why, but I feel joy just listening to it again.  

Snoopy vs. Red Baron “Christmas Bells” uploaded by sabrinaxify song written by The Royal Guardsmen 

Since I went from two ends of the spectrum of information, let me wrap this up with two videos from Matthew West presenting first the season’s sentimentality and faith this year. The other is the nitty-gritty of this year. WARNING the second video shows a negative view of Santa for little ears and eyes (children) and does finish with a fantastic reminder of ‘the reason for the season.’  

Matthew West – The Hope of Christmas (Official Music Video) November 6, 2020

Matthew West – Santa Claus COVID Confessionals (from The Hope of Christmas Live) – December 18, 2020

Thank you, Matthew West, for your exceptional talent and ability to put this all together.

Get out and start your traditions and memories of Christmas. Ignore the stores putting up Valentine’s stuff. Let’s strive to go into 2021 with hope and peace for a future year of more change and adapting to a new way of life.

MERRY CHRISTMAS. For those from different religious traditions, may you find joy and happiness? Maybe even start the practice of using your religious connotations. Merry Christmas and _______________! Let’s strive to bring joy to those around us. Let’s not feed conflict from both sides of the aisle. Merry Christmas in whatever form you find yourself celebrating. Life is change, and that is okay.

Looking Around at the Holidays and Future?

FeaturedLooking Around at the Holidays and Future?

Where do we go from here during this time of change and the upcoming Holidays about family and gifts? Personally have reached a limit on the phrase of ‘return to normal.’ We are not going to return to what once was. Previous outbreaks have brought change to how civilizations and cultures live. Where does this leave an individual with mental health when surrounded by so much negativity? 

Unsure about anyone else, but living in an agitated, selfish, and malicious culture has become extremely difficult. Living with depression, at least for me, is a struggle to see the positive; when surrounded by the negativity coming from family, friends, social media, and media—struggling how to balance out living in the world without my depression getting worse. Over the last two months, I have found and been working on why my depression has increased in severity. When this happens, I always strive to see if it is an exterior or interior life component triggering a spike in my depression. Looking over the exterior is when I was thinking over my interactions with people, social media, and news.  

When people irritate me with their selfishness, or you’re a moron voice and unrealistic expectations. I pull out my crazy smile and phrase, “I love people!” once I leave the area. I started saying this many years ago when working with the public. People I interact with expect perfection in everything; for the most part, that is not achievable. The daily person does not live an episode of ‘The Rich and Famous’ or have the money for an HGTV perfect home. Many components impact what people can have or a company or individual can provide. Be this information, services, and products. Considering other alternatives to why what you want is not available, supplies delayed, information can change at the drop of a hat, so many other things. (Side note: people stop stockpiling cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and paper towels; you are causing a problem that was not there until you created it). Never mind that an employee can be tired but has to work and cannot think as quickly of the options available to offer if there is any available or even care to help. Accepting that not every interaction will be perfect helps reduce the negativity or agitation that personal business brings. Social media is another component that prompts quite a bit of turmoil and negativity.

Social Media should be considered more of a gossip column, not facts. Many things are posted, which is an individual’s perception of facts, not facts unless linked to a professional well-researched website. It has reached a point that a part of self-care that I have done is that I only have a Facebook account to be aware of what is happening in the family and close friends. Additionally, a separate account to post my blog and store link. There are some individuals I do not unfriend, so I do not cause agitation by my actions. Still, I do not read or like their posts anymore—the dissemination of information causes more doubt in public officials or friends and family activities. Steps we need to take to move forward out of this current outbreak and political conflict. We may not always agree with the situation as a whole, but we must strive to keep the chaos to a minimum and seek to help those around us not agitate or become agitated. I will say that some of the facts may be true, but is it necessary to stir up trouble and upload to a public forum that will create so much agitation or, in the end, false information. If you want facts to get out, send it out as a messenger, not a public post. I am for returning Facebook to the point of family contact and marketplace, not a field of social agitation. Media is a whole other ball of wax.

Media, routinely covered of just touching base on the basic. I wanted to offer how to approach viewing the process outside of just touching upon the idea of avoidance. When considering and the commentator becomes negative, view it through the scope makes this impact personally and change it. If it does not personally impact is emotionally moving it to knowledge but unobtainable fix by me. When I cannot fix something, I need to move it to not worry about it emotionally, more worry leads to expanding my anxiety and depression, and I cannot afford to take on more than I can handle.

News 5 Cleveland, Ohio local news 11/22/2020 9 am

Weather Report: Selfish, you are on your own. If I could move, I would, and then I remember that Ohio has mild winters compared to others and rarely have severe weather like hurricanes or tsunami.

Schooling report: Personally cannot fix this, so worrying about the children is not productive; I have my high school student I am trying to graduate. If I felt I needed to fix this, I would contact my local school, library, churches, and recreation centers to see if I could volunteer to help or contact a local mom or mom’s group and assist with homeschooling.  

Local shops and restaurants support: Supporting local business this I can do. I can buy gift cards and donate them to Goodwill, Salvation Army, pregnancy centers, homeless shelters, and other help groups. I could even send them as thank you to the voter poll workers, teachers, postal workers, local grocery, retail, or restaurant workers.

Just a look at examples of how I am trying to live successfully in a perceived hostile culture; nothing is perfect, and striving for it will only exacerbate one’s mental health.

Documentary of Why to Help.  Examples of at least people striving to improve the lives of others and that more help is needed.

It is not meant to be a down on the United States, but we a genuinely blessed nation for the most part. Our society’s large segment conflicted on mask-wearing, race, poverty, corporate greed, fact or fiction on medical information, and political landscape. I have mentioned we need to look at the local needs and help. Here is an international and local example of why we, as individuals, should strive to find where we can help others.

Texas Country Reporter – Kind House Bakery  This is an example of an international from Texas. If one is to look around or network through social media, there is something local to you or create something close to heart and doable. Changing how the International local communities see the US and helping others is just as important as local. 

What did strike me and prompted the US culture is spoiled in a large portion of our country because the showing living in a war zone and the money will buy fuel for people. We need to acknowledge, though, in the US, large segments of our society are just as deprived. One can volunteer or give financially locally if one looks.

OH Local 12 – Inner-city teens talk about problems they face at the youth forum

BBC News – US inner-city children suffer ‘war zone’ trauma

Watching the BBC News does show what prompted the race riots that started in May and many years prior. It gives an example of why it turned violent since that is what surrounded by violence can create. We are such a large country we can strive to change by giving people opportunities. 

I ask myself why the media does not present yes, there is shooting, but these are groups that are striving to make cultural changes. Change takes time and effort, but as individuals, we can change our culture; it is one less individual that needs help. Some will not accept assistance and return to what they are comfortable with, but trying is something better than nothing. Doing something can be direct or indirect, whatever an individual’s comfort and interest level is.

Here is another national presentation of the impact of the needs of our local community.  CBS Sunday Morning – The rise in Americans’ Food Insecurity what struck me is that this is a national face of the condition. How to help give to national food banks, support and help people understand how to grow food at home even if in an apartment during this Christmas time gift a how-to and physical package of how to succeed at home, and give or help where you can. As one can tell, our government will not help, so find where to assist because the government will not or will take too long. Search for a personal or local situation to help, even if it is a word or physical health. As individuals, we can make a difference, do not wait for the government to help. For me, that is donating financially to a local food bank and helping where I can at my job in a local supermarket. Sometimes that is just contributing a nickel, dime, or a dollar to someone trying to buy food and is short a little. I cannot afford or be allowed to pay a whole bill, but someone in line can see this happen. It is not much, but I can personally do that makes me feel that I am helping. No, I am not affluent; my bills are severely tight, but if I can help those worse than I, I will be the best of my ability.

Let’s strive to not look at the negative as woo is them or me, but as can I or someone else helps with this. There are so many organizations that are struggling for volunteers and money. Do one or the other to help or just a thank you card for all you do. Do not look to the government because, realistically, what I see, they do not understand or care. They look at the fiscal bottom line and their lobbyist, not the people that need them. Seek to help others, or if you need help, seek out those who can help, whether mental health or physical health. As a world, we can survive the changes ahead as a community of individuals looking to support our local needs.  

Upcoming Holiday of Thanksgiving in the United States: Stressors are money for meals or travel, family arriving, or inability to come.

Here is an idea plan a menu that you will all prepare at individual homes and set up a time on Zoom or conference call on the phone to talk and eat as a family. Another idea is watching the game or family movies through Zoom, Facebook, or any other communication method. Communication and compromise are how to make this holiday work safely. Yes, it is not like last year or other past events, but you are still as a family, just a new view. 

Food will look differently for others. I have included two videos that I found that gave lovely ideas that are different. Our family has a simple menu of stuffing, mashed potatoes, corn, squash, Gravy, and Thick slice Low Salt Turkey or Regular Turkey from the Deli. We are not big turkey eaters, so three slices for a family of three work perfectly. Also, we will be calling my husband’s dad and talking with him. Due to Covid, we are not getting together because my father-in-law is in his late seventies and has several health issues, and he asked us not to meet at a buffet or restaurant as we have in past years.

 Joshua Weissman – A Whole Thanksgiving Dinner for 35 Dollars – But Cheaper (side note: ignore the MSG note) would not include.

Glen & Friends Cooking – Stuffed Rolled Turkey Breast Recipe – Turkey Roulade with Sausage Stuffing – Personally, if I were not working so much, I would do this, may even try it when life slows down with chicken.

Joshua Weissman – The Easiest Pecan Pie Ever (2 ways) – not something I prefer but at the 5-minute mark, he does make a turtle soft serve out of the leftover pie, which was fun to watch

To celebrate family, YES, it is different but is it not better to create new memories and successes of working around a problem than it is than be bitter and angry that you let a problem conquer you? We are a world of fixers fix the problem within the constrictions you have and call the holidays a success toward change.  Live Your Life: T-Shirt

For a silly look at life through a music video and the upcoming Christmas Holiday, which will bring new challenges that we will succeed if we stop comparing to the past and see a new beginning, you can change your lens to follow a new future.

Home Free – Cold Hard CASH (For Christmas) – I love the humor that this brought. Christmas is about family, not about the gifts. For Christians, it is Birth of Christ. Maybe this year, it is time to look at spending time with family playing games or going through a photo album. Yes, you may not be together; make someone the central clearinghouse of information or photos. Scan and upload family videos or images to a created website, Facebook, or a locked YouTube account that only goes to the family. Go out and create new memories, not more significant agitation of comparing to years past that is not obtainable due to the changes brought on by 2020. We will survive and thrive if we look out for those around us. Call or drop a postcard to someone that they are loved and remembered. We can succeed if we accept that replicating the past is not feasible but creating new memories will be worth it in the end.

Quick Thank you to those who have read and linked to follow. I will apologize I currently have not acheived a level of comfort with my depression and anxiety to read comments. Thank you to those who leave them. Have a great day.

Works Cited

Tognotti, E. (2013). Lessons from the History of Quarantine, from Plague to Influenza A. Emerging Infectious Diseases, 19(2), 254-259. https://dx.doi.org/10.3201/eid1902.120312. https://wwwnc.cdc.gov/eid/article/19/2/12-0312_article

“What were the critical events in the life of Jesus Christ?” (n.d.). Retrieved 11/22/2020, from https://www.gotquestions.org/life-of-Christ.html