Each year I struggle just before the holidays to find something to write in this column that will be profound or meaningful. The problem always is that there is nothing new under the sun. No matter what I come up with I have seen it before.
This year as I thought about it, I kept coming back to all the unhappy people I know during what is the season of joy. I have friends, family and co-workers who could use a little Christmas joy in their lives. Whether you regard this holiday as a religious one or a secular one, happiness about the season is generated from within ourselves. I know, you have heard that before, but I think it bears repeating.
Admittedly Christmas for me has not been as good since I was say about 14 years old as it was before that. It's part of growing up, that changes in the way we view Christmas. By the age of 15 I had a jobs, working in a furniture factory, and I began to realize why some adults didn't like the Christmas season. Christmas meant more orders, more work and longer hours. I remember at that first job we worked on Christmas Eve until 9 p.m. delivering furniture to people who had wanted it for Christmas Day. It was my first taste of being on the other end of a retail or service business during the holidays. Then to top it off, the day after Christmas we had to be to work at 7 a.m. to "clean up" from the holiday. However, by 8 a.m. I and half the crew at the plant were on our way home with pink slips; we had served our purpose well before Christmas, but the orders had been filled and they didn't need us again until about April when things started to pick up again. I never did figure out why they waited until the morning after to tell us; I guess they thought it would be mean to do it before the holiday. I immediately went to look for a new job, but found most places had a hiring hangover from the holidays and it took me three months to get another position.
That was my first depressing Christmas season, although the idea of not having to work until school started in January did add some fun to it. I grew up that year. But I didn't like it.
Since then I have had some wonderful Christmas' and some very unhappy ones. These last few years have been up and down for various reasons. This season my family and I are dealing with the death of my father and one of my sisters from the last year; there will be a void left with both of them gone.
But I have learned a lot more in my life from the Christmas' that weren't so good than I did from the ones that were a lot of fun. Now when I start to feel down I force myself to realize how great I've got it; a great job, a wonderful family and more stuff than I know what to do with. Life hands all of us a bad deal at times, but for me there have been many more good times than bad.
For some people Christmas can be the most depressing time of the year; I can understand that now that I have had the bad ones to go along with happy times. Those people need our help. They need our compassion and understanding.
So if you run into someone who seems like a real scrooge, put yourself in their shoes. Find out about them; figure out what makes them tick.
Just maybe, with the right help from you, you can bring some one back to the days of Christmas joy they once had.
And in turn you will bring some real Christmas cheer to yourself as well.