Off the Line: The holiday season is looking us in the eye

So, here it is. The holiday season is dead ahead of us and looking us straight in the eyes.

So, here it is. The holiday season is dead ahead of us and looking us straight in the eyes. Tis the season of good will and all that, so it is said.

Well, you could have fooled me. It’s likely that by now most of you have seen the video of shoppers doing what they do best on Black Friday.

No, I’m not talking about shopping. I’m talking about beating each other up in order to acquire the possession of their dreams.

If you haven’t seen the video I am talking about, let me tell you, you haven’t missed much. It’s your typical woman wants an item that a child out shopping with her mother has in her hands. So what did the woman do? She roughly pushed the child and then snatched the goodie from the shocked little girl. Of course mama, who just happened to be standing right beside her, jumped right into the fray. The only problem with that, was that, to me, it didn’t appear as if the mother was rightfully protesting the treatment of the child, but rather that she was protecting her daughter’s plunder from the other lady.

What honestly baffles me is that, just hours earlier, it is likely that same lady was sitting at her turkey laden Thanksgiving table with family and friends giving thanks and feeling, fat, sassy and self-satisfied. My oh my how a few hours can make such a big difference.

After sitting through several newscasts in which it seemed that the lead story was the pure gluttony and barbarianism of those shoppers I had just about had enough. Nowadays it seems that Black Friday is more of a national sport than a frugal move for shoppers and a smart move for merchandisers. Brutality and such is now passé and not even shocking. What does that say about such blatant consumerism?

After watching variations of that sport numerous times that day, it confirmed to me what I am really feeling this year and that is that we have come way too far away from the real meaning of Christmas. The feeding frenzy, the stress, the hurt feelings, the whole ball of wicked yarn that seems to mostly make up the Season makes me want to, more than ever, strip back the glitz and pressures and get back to the basics.

Sounds good, right? Well, for me it is easy. Our children are grown and scattered, we have few grandchildren and thus the expectations put upon us are few and far between. So, it’s easy for me to scale back. There are no pairs of wishful eyes looking at us and praying that we or Santa will fulfill every wish on their Christmas list.

Those parents with young children in the home know of what I speak. It’s a tough time of year for parents. A tough time indeed.

I suppose that if you want your children to truly appreciate the reason for the season the best time to do that is when they are young.

Build in them an understanding of the true meaning of Christmas and each year build upon that. Every thought, just like a home, needs a firm foundation if it is to stand strong against the winds that blow.

I don’t have a road map for those parents who are seeking to instill in their children an honest appreciation and love of the season. Each parent needs to find his or her own way to speak to their child’s heart and prevail upon their natural kindness to do what is right not just for themselves but for those around them.

No, Christmas isn’t easy for many. But, if done right from the beginning, it becomes a template for many happy memories and Christmases.