Venting post for those who find this time of the year hard


#1

Ok, here it is. I HATE the secular part of Christmass and I must admit, it has a stronger presence in my life then the birht of Jesus. That is what I resent so much. I would love to see this as a special celebration for Jesus, but society bombards me with so much commercialism it distorts the time of the year. And what really gets me is calling it 'the holidays' to be politically correct and not offend non Christians with no regards to offending me as a Catholic.

I don't use other people's religious events as an excuse to have a free lunch at work and time off and then tell them not to push their religious beliefs at me. However, they have no problem eating the turkey lunch at work and taking the time off but I am to be silent of my religious beliefs

And to be honest, ever since I was 13, Christmas has been a dreaded event in my home. So phony. My dad wants us to all get along so he can fool himself into believing he has a good loving family without ever having to take responsibility for all the disfunction he has caused.

I HATE receiving gifts because there is all this pressure to gratefull for the presents people picked out. When I was in university, the second I got back to residence I would throw all the stuff away. ( I wasn't even considerate enough to take it to the salvation army). Now that I am older, I feel tremendous guilt that people have spent their hard earned money on something I find totally useless. I am a hard person to buy for and I just wish people never bought me stuff

And the decorations, please. The first time I saw icicle lights, I though they looked like cobwebs. Well actually, in the day when they are off they DO look like cob webs. Not to mention I have always though a tree in a house was a bit pathetic

I could go on for hours about how hard I find this time of the year. And there is just NO getting away from it. Today, I went skating to get out of the house. Well, who was there ? Santa and a singer that was singing a bunch of Christmass songs. Sure the kids where having fun but I really could have done without.

I will be visiting my parents for Christmass but I am taking a train. I have had it with aeroports at Christmas. They are worse than a zoo

So, praying for patience I can make it through the next 3 weeks and then go back to my normal life

CM


#2

Man, to think I feel like Scrooge sometimes!!! :smiley:

I agree with a lot of your post, so don’t think you are alone. It is hard to “tune out” the secular influence and concentrate on commemorating the birth of our Savior. The blare from society’s distortions is quite loud and insistent. But you sound young, and single, and this time of year is better when shared with loved ones and especially, children.

Yes, it bothers a lot of Christians when non-Christians attack us for our beliefs but then they also want the “perks” of sharing our holidays! What is Christmas FOR, anyway, if you are an atheist or whatever, why should you take time off? I don’t take time off at Ramadan or Hannukah or Yom Kippur! And it doesn’t bug me that others have their own holidays. Don’t wish me “Happy Holidays,” because I will say “Merry Christmas!” until I hear it back! There has been a big backlash here in the US against the push to eliminate any trace of Christ from Christmas and retailers are back-tracking and are back to using “Christmas” in their advertisements and signage. Anything to get our dollars flowing!

I wonder if you could suggest to friends and relatives that you would prefer if they donated to your favorite charity instead of buying you things? You could tell them that you are trying to keep things simple and live “lightly,” and that you don’t need much at all. People who love you probably already know you are difficult to buy for, so it might be a relief to them as well.

My husband’s Christmases were never joyous either, and he struggles greatly with any of the “trappings,” including the tree, presents, giving to others, etc. The materialism of it bothers him a great deal. When our kids were little, I wanted them to have good memories like I did, so I gave them more toys than I probably should have. I had never heard of giving only 3 gifts per person because that was all that Jesus got. I never spent that much money in total but I got lots of little stuff. They do have good memories which I am proud of. Their dad would do well as a Jehovah’s Witness, he is against most celebrations.

Do you ever have an urge to give a gift, out of love, from your heart? That is what most people try to do at Christmas, although some of them are not very good at the whole process. I know you said you are not good at receiving but what about the opposite? Do you ever see something in a store and think, “Oh that would be perfect for X!” I know this is more of a female trait (I assume you are male) but I have known guys who would at least let the other person know he cared. Maybe you should try that part of the giving-receiving equation.

But I think there should be a resort somewhere for people who don’t want to participate in Christmas. There would be NO decorations, NO trees, NO carols, NOTHING. There could be Masses, but no extra “stuff,” just maybe a creche. I’m sure even the normal resorts add Christmas decorations to help everyone feel like they are at home. You’d need to go there and spend the whole month or so. Like a Butlin’s sort of. Does a monastery make a big deal of Christmas? That might be an option.

I’m only slightly joking.:slight_smile: Maybe you can watch a version of “A Christmas Carol.” That movie always slaps me in the face and brings me back to what is critical during this time and always. And there’s not even that much religion in it. I guess you wouldn’t like “It’s a Wonderful Life,” or any of the other Christmas films. Please do not allow bitterness and cynicism to rule over you, though. Go to Mass and feel the Lord’s peace. Say a rosary or two. Go to confession. Go to church during the week. Try not to hate the silly people who go crazy this time of year.


#3

Hi CM!

Many folks would agree with you!

All the commercialism is very overwhelming isn't it? And I loved your comment about the gifts. How true indeed. To be given such useless stuff, is ridiculous! Sometimes we have to just toughen up, be a hermit and grit our teeth to just make it through Christmas. My parents give all of us sheets every Christmas, we have no room or place to put them.....no use telling them what we really would like, she still says she bought us sheets.........money would be much more useful! But you can't teach an old dog new tricks can you? Just smile and say thank you, then bring stuff to the Salvation Army if you can.....

There is nothing wrong with just staying home, reading, watching movies and just don't fight the crowds. And then do not feel obligated to buy anyone gifts if you don't want to.

It's nice you'll be with your parents, although sometimes stressful.

Maybe go a wonderful concert this season? Light some candles in your home and meditate. You'll feel better. That's what I've been doing......

You'll make it through CM.

Jesus is the reason for the season~:thumbsup:


#4

Hi CM,

I too used to feel resentful for the commercialism during this time of year and the craziness that comes out in people.

In the past couple of years though, I've turned my thinking around. Instead I focus on what I can give to those who might not have (if not materially, by donating of my time).

I focus on the religious meanings of things I see around me: ie the Advent Wreath, and its meaning; I contemplate the Nativity scene - remembering the first Christmas; I remember and reflect on Mary's Immaculate Conception (Dec 8); Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (Dec 12); So many of seemingly secular symbols have religious origins or can have religious meanings attached to them (i.e. the candy cane, stars, angels, candles, etc).

I prefer to go shopping during the daytime hours when there are less shoppers and craziness. Instead of giving expensive gifts, I give practical gifts, or homemade ones. I particularly enjoy making Christmas cards, or taking the time to write personal messages of appreciation and blessings for my friends and loved ones.

We can't completely get away from the secular part of Christmas - it is all around us. But we can direct our focus and appreciate the true meaning: the birth of our Lord and Savior.

Hope this helps,
God Bless.


#5

I am willing to bet OP's rant may resonate with a lot of people.

we made a conscious decision years ago when our children were still at home to bag a lot of the secular cultural accretions that surround "the holidays" in this country in favor of a more Christo-centric approach grounded in the liturgical year and celebrations. Gift giving is modest, family oriented, an opportunity to teach generosity to the children, and coupled with some kind of service to the materially poor, for instance. Decorations are minimalist and more about the beauty of nature than Martha Stewart or Better homes catalog shoots. WE also go easy on the food, meals and treats. Not to be grinches or scrooges, but to gently steer the children toward appreciation of those customs that further appreciation of the holy days and the seasons surrounding them, including the feasts that follow Christmas, observing the actual liturgical times, and "less is more". to be honest my goal was primarily eliminating stress, saving money, opting out of demanding and toxic encounters with extended family, and saving my sanity. I am happy to note our girls seem to do a great job managing the holiday thing in their families and keep priorities straight.


#6

Thanks everyone for your support

Julianne you made me laugh :) I am single but not so young (40) and a female.

As for giving out of my heart..... I like to believe that God who sees me in secret will repay me in secret so I don't like to honk my own horn but I will share this one story. For 10 years I lived accross the street from a home for teenage boys without parents. This home was for the worse behaved kids. I moved away 2 years ago. Well, one year there was all this hype at work to give to an organization that distributes gifts to underpiveledge children. In the back of my mind, all I could think was 'How could I give to an faceless organizatin and walk by everyday the home of 8 boys I would see at the bus stop.

So I decided to knock on the door, ask the counscellor about the boys to see what they would like/need.

Well....... at first, the counscellor nearly fell off her chair. She though I was there because yet another neighbour had a complaint about the boys. I had to tell her I was serious. She told me the boys liked body wash. Not what my brother wanted as a teenage boy but I got them all a bottle and a few treats. I was then invited to a Christmass party at their house. The workers of the house were gratefull (although shocked I did that). 2 of the boys figured out I was secret santa and put their money together and bought me a point setta (sp?) That touched me because they only got $10 a week from the government and had no parents to teach them that. Every time a new boy moved into the house, they would say to me 'I heard about you, they tell me you are the cool lady who buys us soap at Christmass' I even heard some of the boys with hygene problems started to shower more.

So yes, I do enjoy giving. But I must admit, it goes to my head when teenage boys call me cool:D


#7

[quote="cmscms, post:1, topic:222412"]
Ok, here it is. I HATE the secular part of Christmass and I must admit, it has a stronger presence in my life then the birht of Jesus. That is what I resent so much. I would love to see this as a special celebration for Jesus, but society bombards me with so much commercialism it distorts the time of the year.

[/quote]

I sympathise with your feelings about the way Christmas can get overshadowed in other things ... but the other day I read a blog post that presented things in a new way that I hadn't thought of before. Maybe we should focus on making Christmas holy, not resenting other people's enjoyment of the season.


#8

I don't agree at all, your post sounds quite selfish IMHO.

First of all this isn't just "our" season. Starting in November and running through early Jan (Orthodox Christmas is in Jan) many other religious groups celebrate important times in their liturgical calendar (from Pagans, to Jews, to Hindus to our Nation's Thanksgiving)

Has secular society taken some of the focus from one of the most important day of the year for Christians? Yes they definitely have.

However I know at my Parish and in my home, Christmas is a time of gathering with family and focusing on Christ. My 4 sons are young (all 8 or under) so gifts is a big part but the giving of those gift is a good door opener to talk about Christ like behavior, St. Nicholas and why Christmas is so important.

The receiving of those gifts, some of which probably had no thought put into them but know many do, is also important because it should teach us humility. Someone spent the time to try and do something good for someone, we should be honored and accept that humbly. Can you think of another time when we receive something, something we should receive humbly because Someone thought of us? (if you are a practicing Catholic you probably do this at least weekly). My guess is that you, like the rest of us, are very honored and humble to receive Christ each week in the Eucharist. Yet when someone else tried to exhibit Christlike behavior your thought was to throw their gifts away... it sounds like that was many years in the past so it's ok. Perhaps it was a feeling of unworthyness at the time. However I know I know I'm always unworthy at the Altar as we state each week but joyful at the ability to receive. Maybe you could look at your Christmas gifts in a similar manner?

I do have frustrations about the secular part of Christmas, as I believe many do. However there is a lot of goodness going on at this time of year. Perhaps you should ask God to better enable you to see that, to see the light in others rather than the darkness you perceive from the secularization.

Like Mary, even in the darkness, we can bring Christ into the World through our lives, through the light of our lives as it sounds like you did with those frustrating teenage boys. I believe that can be especially powerful at this time of year. As you return home I'll definitely remember you in my prayers with the hope that God can help you see this as a joyous time of year, no matter what anyone else does or does not do.

Sincerely,
Joe


#9

don't Christmas shop much any more, grandkids are older and would rather have gift cards or cash, but one change we made when they were smaller but getting old enough to be demanding, was that from Thanksgiving on we stayed out of malls, big box stores, walmart etc. We shopped only at places like school and church craft fairs and Christmas bazaars, or in towns that still have main street shops (Rochester, Michigan, Chagrin Falls and Hudson Ohio, for instance) or downtown department stores that still had store windows (Higbees and Halle's in Cleveland, JL Hudson in Detroit, all long gone now) so shopping was more than gift grabbing and throwing plastic around.

Traditions brought into the family by in-laws--an afternoon of downtown shopping followed by actual tea for the gals. When in Chicago breakfast with Santa under the big tree at Marshall Fields the day after TG was mandatory, or when in Detroit the Thanksgiving day parade, with hot chocolate and cookies at grandpa's employer afterward (office was on Woodward so we always got great seats and great view).

Black Friday has turned into such a greed frenzy I would not dream of going anywhere with spending in mind on that day any more. pity.


#10

One year when I was about 22 years old, I just took Christmas day “off” and spent the day in my studio, painting pictures.

It’s still the best Christmas of my whole life - just me and Jesus, alone among the paint and canvas, rearranging the Creation. :slight_smile:


#11

[quote="cmscms, post:6, topic:222412"]
Thanks everyone for your support

Julianne you made me laugh :) I am single but not so young (40) and a female.

As for giving out of my heart..... I like to believe that God who sees me in secret will repay me in secret so I don't like to honk my own horn but I will share this one story. For 10 years I lived accross the street from a home for teenage boys without parents. This home was for the worse behaved kids. I moved away 2 years ago. Well, one year there was all this hype at work to give to an organization that distributes gifts to underpiveledge children. In the back of my mind, all I could think was 'How could I give to an faceless organizatin and walk by everyday the home of 8 boys I would see at the bus stop.

So I decided to knock on the door, ask the counscellor about the boys to see what they would like/need.

Well....... at first, the counscellor nearly fell off her chair. She though I was there because yet another neighbour had a complaint about the boys. I had to tell her I was serious. She told me the boys liked body wash. Not what my brother wanted as a teenage boy but I got them all a bottle and a few treats. I was then invited to a Christmass party at their house. The workers of the house were gratefull (although shocked I did that). 2 of the boys figured out I was secret santa and put their money together and bought me a point setta (sp?) That touched me because they only got $10 a week from the government and had no parents to teach them that. Every time a new boy moved into the house, they would say to me 'I heard about you, they tell me you are the cool lady who buys us soap at Christmass' I even heard some of the boys with hygene problems started to shower more.

So yes, I do enjoy giving. But I must admit, it goes to my head when teenage boys call me cool:D

[/quote]

There you go. So you do have a heart! You are just one of those people with a crust on the outside but all soft marshmallow inside. Sorry to mistake your post as having been written by a male! That's a great story. How far away did you move? might be good to pay another visit soon - it sounds as if you made a big impact.

I will tell you that last Christmas was the worst I have ever experienced...well...apart from the year I got food poisoning from work and thought I was going to die before morning... Anyway, last year we had just moved houses and I was clawing my way out of a depression. We managed to give the boys some money, but other than that, NO cards or gifts for me at all. I got a card for hubby but he didn't want to reciprocate. I got my panties in a knot about it, but I decided that I am not doing Christmas for anyone else but me and it's between me and Jesus anyway. My husband didn't have my childhood, he's not going to appreciate any of my efforts, so if I am doing it on his behalf, well...it's not going to impress him. Nor should I wait hopefully for a gift or a card. If I want it to happen, I have to make it happen. It only matters this much to me, not him.

And since I am deepening my faith this year, I am getting more into the mysticism of the season. I am transported in Mass. I feel so joyful there, with everyone around me. I am so grateful that I can receive Christ every week, and so awed by our sacraments. I am no longer going to wait and hope for my husband to experience the joy of being a Catholic who has returned home. I'm just going to live my life and deal with it.

This forum is great - I have already learned so much about the Catechism and had to think about issues I had never really pondered. Now I want to read a lot more and grow closer to Jesus and Mary and the saints.

I would urge you to just close your eyes to all the insanity of the season from a secular viewpoint. We don't have to BE secular, we are aiming for more. We want holiness. That's not found inside a store.

:thumbsup::hug1::hug3::signofcross:


#12

[quote="cmscms, post:1, topic:222412"]
Ok, here it is. I HATE the secular part of Christmass and I must admit, it has a stronger presence in my life then the birht of Jesus. That is what I resent so much. I would love to see this as a special celebration for Jesus, but society bombards me with so much commercialism it distorts the time of the year. And what really gets me is calling it 'the holidays' to be politically correct and not offend non Christians with no regards to offending me as a Catholic.

I don't use other people's religious events as an excuse to have a free lunch at work and time off and then tell them not to push their religious beliefs at me. However, they have no problem eating the turkey lunch at work and taking the time off but I am to be silent of my religious beliefs

And to be honest, ever since I was 13, Christmas has been a dreaded event in my home. So phony. My dad wants us to all get along so he can fool himself into believing he has a good loving family without ever having to take responsibility for all the disfunction he has caused.

I HATE receiving gifts because there is all this pressure to gratefull for the presents people picked out. When I was in university, the second I got back to residence I would throw all the stuff away. ( I wasn't even considerate enough to take it to the salvation army). Now that I am older, I feel tremendous guilt that people have spent their hard earned money on something I find totally useless. I am a hard person to buy for and I just wish people never bought me stuff

And the decorations, please. The first time I saw icicle lights, I though they looked like cobwebs. Well actually, in the day when they are off they DO look like cob webs. Not to mention I have always though a tree in a house was a bit pathetic

I could go on for hours about how hard I find this time of the year. And there is just NO getting away from it. Today, I went skating to get out of the house. Well, who was there ? Santa and a singer that was singing a bunch of Christmass songs. Sure the kids where having fun but I really could have done without.

I will be visiting my parents for Christmass but I am taking a train. I have had it with aeroports at Christmas. They are worse than a zoo

So, praying for patience I can make it through the next 3 weeks and then go back to my normal life

CM

[/quote]

Not to be harsh but try to count your blessings. I used to sound like you.

My parents are deceased. I didn't get along with them, but they thought I did. I would grit my teeth and stay silent until I could get home and rant about their 'dysfunction.'

My grandparents are deceased. Aunts, uncles. Many cousins. They weren't perfect. It seemed all I could do was complain about them.

Yet I would give a great deal now to have them back in my life.

Becoming Catholic has changed my perspective on myself and my relationship to others. Isn't it the Christian way to try to be grateful? To enjoy what God has put before us?

Do I always live up to those high standards? Hardly ever. But they represent a beacon in the dark.

I am so glad that I gritted my teeth and never unloaded on my parents. Once your parents are gone, will you be as filled with regrets as I am?


#13

Practicing my Catholic faith has made me realize (though I did notice it before) that because Christmas has been secularized, it now brings out the worst in people. People getting in fights over toys at Walmart. Is that what Jesus would eant?
Also, my college bulletin called it “Winter Holiday” rather than “Christmas Break” :mad:.


#14

[quote="Sailor_Kenshin, post:12, topic:222412"]
Not to be harsh but try to count your blessings. I used to sound like you.

My parents are deceased. I didn't get along with them, but they thought I did. I would grit my teeth and stay silent until I could get home and rant about their 'dysfunction.'

My grandparents are deceased. Aunts, uncles. Many cousins. They weren't perfect. It seemed all I could do was complain about them.

Yet I would give a great deal now to have them back in my life.

Becoming Catholic has changed my perspective on myself and my relationship to others. Isn't it the Christian way to try to be grateful? To enjoy what God has put before us?

Do I always live up to those high standards? Hardly ever. But they represent a beacon in the dark.

I am so glad that I gritted my teeth and never unloaded on my parents. Once your parents are gone, will you be as filled with regrets as I am?

[/quote]

Your post brought tears to my eyes. I have no parents, no grandparents, and almost all my uncles and aunts have passed on too. My sister and I are all that's left of our immediate family. I used to hold grudges against her, it's amazing what time and the love of Christ will do for that! I have a lot of compassion and love for her now.

I often think of the day when I will finally get to see my mother again, and Daddy too. That's what I'm looking forward to, but for now, I have to be here and grateful for what I have in my life.

"A beacon in the dark," you wrote. Beautiful. Yes, that is what we are aiming for. That beacon in the dark that is Jesus' countenance.


#15

[quote="jwashu, post:8, topic:222412"]
I don't agree at all, your post sounds quite selfish IMHO.

[/quote]

I don't want to argue about your opinion, but I do want to state my title clearly said 'venting post', I was not asking for advice. Of course when people vent, they always come across in a bad fashion but I need to let it out every now and then.

Yes, Jesus did dies for our sins and it is a great gift to receive. Yet, the material gifts I receive will NOT send me to heaven and it is simply a waste of people's hard earned money that could be better spent elsewhere

CM


#16

[quote="TheRealJuliane, post:11, topic:222412"]
There you go. So you do have a heart! You are just one of those people with a crust on the outside but all soft marshmallow inside. Sorry to mistake your post as having been written by a male! That's a great story. How far away did you move? might be good to pay another visit soon - it sounds as if you made a big impact.

[/quote]

I always knew I had a heart. It is just a heart that can't stand christmass:D

Sorry about your holiday last year. I hope this year is better

CM


#17

Here's some holiday cheer~~~~

youtube.com/watch?v=8-0WVfj76bo


#18

OW! My poor ears. :frowning:

WARNING: contains cute animals “singing” (meowing and barking) Deck the Halls. (That’s even worse than cute singing kids, who are not your own kids, at Christmas.) :stuck_out_tongue: :wink:


#19

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