Saturday, December 14, 2013

Calm in the eye of the storm

I just realized that it's Christmas is only 10 days away and I'm as cool as a cucumber - I don't think I've ever been this stressless with respect to the holidays.  My plan is to just "show up" and enjoy the atmosphere the holidays were meant to be about in the first place.

This year I decided not to give any presents and also not to expect any.  And if someone decides to give me a present they'll receive a big smile from me and the heartfelt words of gratitude "No, thank you." My family think it's strange but that's ok I've always been the black sheep in their eyes so this really doesn't surprise them.  When I told my dad I think he was caught off guard (probably he had already bought something) which makes me think, who are we buying for anyhow? Ourselves or the other person?

I've been thinking a lot lately about how the holidays have changed over the years.  It's an incredibly commercial event leaving people stressed out and frustrated for a variety of reasons - spending money on things others probably don't really need, feeling obligated to be with people we don't see or communicate with the rest of the year, (insert your reason here).

I remember my dad and I having a conversation a few years ago about how people in the Czech Republic after the Velvet Revolution in 1989 were happier than they are now when it came to the holidays.  Ironically the paradox of choice has in the last two decades became an illness suffered by many Czechs without even realizing it.