Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Holiday thoughts

Today's blog will be brief, because I have a house full of family, so there are dinners and dishes and presents, oh my. Today is the day after Christmas, which means many things to different people. For some, the festivities are ongoing, often with visits to the extended relatives. For others, it's a day to throw out the wrapping paper, pack away the good dishes and silverware, and generally restore order to the house that had descended into chaos. For still others, it's a day to sleep, toss back Alka Seltzer and Gaviscon, and nurse the hangover from overly enthusiastic celebrations of the day before. And some (especially those with  hangovers) are waving good bye and good riddance to the out of town relatives, mere moments before blood is drawn.

And for Canadians, there is also the tradition of Boxing Day on December 26, which used to be the biggest shopping day of the year, when businesses discounted their goods by huge margins to clear the holiday merchandise before years' end. Now Boxing Day is being eclipsed by pre-Christmas sales, as each business tries to get the edge in a highly competitive market, and by Black Friday, which has sneaked in from the United States due to vigorous advertising.

Gone are the hype, the good cheer and the wishes of peace on earth. Gone are the church masses and the touching nativity stories. It's a memorable time full of anticipation, excitement, and laudable messages of caring, and in the aftermath, feelings can range from disappointment and exhaustion to exhilaration and relief. Often all of the above.

There are those, however, for whom the holiday is tinged with pain or even eclipsed by it. People who are missing loved ones, people who are alone and far from home, people who have lost their families through war or misfortune. At no time is the loneliness more acute than when everyone else is celebrating with family, talking about what gifts they are buying and the festive feasts they are preparing. To them, the end of the holidays comes as a welcome relief, when they can get on with their lives and look forward to the fresh start that a new year can bring.

Our family celebrates Hanukah and also, with our expanded family, Christmas as well, which makes for a lot of celebrating! By the time of my next blog post, we will be six days into the new year. My new year's resolutions, pro forma at best and always pointless, will be long forgotten and I will be back hard at work. So I will take this occasion to wish everyone a wonderful 2019 and a fervent hope for peace, happiness, and security across the world.

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