It probably comes as no surprise that my house is not adorned by the tons of the usual Christmas paraphernalia that most people seem to need to celebrate the holiday season properly. No, I don't decorate a Christmas tree. The exterior of my home isn't ablaze from a gawdy display of Christmas lights. The stockings are hung by the chimney with care in other people's homes, but not in mine. I'm sure most people must think I'm as horrible as Scrooge and the Grinch all rolled up into one massive anti-Christmas campaign. But those who really know me, know that still waters run deep. For me, the season is not a lavish affair. I keep it simple. I try to pay it forward by giving money to the less fortunate and by doing small acts of kindness whenever I can. I don't go into debt from overspending, but I do manage to make sure all my loved ones are remembered in some special way. Over the years as my need to participate in the commercial hullabaloo surrounding Christmas has dwindled, I've devoted much thought to the holiday season and what makes it so depressing and unbearable for so many people. 

As children, this season breeds an unbridled anticipation of Santa Claus and wonderful gifts. Then as the years roll by, that anticipation for many people somehow morphs into the dread of overspending and into bittersweet memories of all the things they no longer have and of loved ones who no longer are with them. What may start out as a little self-pity often times turns into depression on steroids. For people celebrating the holidays totally alone or without a significant other, the holiday season always seems geared towards celebrating it with that special someone and with a loving family oozing with holiday spirit. Each time I used to see the commercial that asked, "What would you do for love this Christmas?" it made me want to vomit. Some bright, young advertising hotshot envisioned two people being separated at Christmas with impossible obstacles to overcome. Somehow and of course quite miraculously, they find their way to each other just in time and of course, bearing an armful of great gifts for one another. Does that ever happen in real life? If not, it should, but better yet it should happen all year long! 

I applaud anyone who generously give of themselves, but not necessarily through monetary means at Christmas. I applaud those who see a need to keep the romance and passion alive in a relationship because the person they love is still worth that kind of effort. I applaud those fortunate families who manage to celebrate Christmas together each year not from obligation or duty, but because they love one another. If you really want to get into the spirit of the season and adhere to the philosophy that "it’s better to give than to receive," then do something that might really make a difference in someone’s life. 

If you know someone who is alone or doesn’t appear overflowing with a festive spirit, take the time to be that person's friend. Sometimes all it takes is a kind word or some small deed to make a person believe they too are worthy of love and happiness during the holidays. Extend an invitation, give an anonymous gift or just act like you sincerely understand and care about someone in need. Alienating that "grinch" is the worst thing that can happen to that person. They may appear to want to be left alone, but underneath that gruff exterior lies a person needing a visit from a real Santa Claus. It's really quite simple! Give yourself the best Christmas gift you can ever receive by paying it forward this Christmas season.

*Repost from December 14, 2020

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