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Blue Christmas Lights


Despite all the tinsel and glow, all the shinny faces and families rushing around in their SUVs and minivans, Christmas can be a difficult time of the year for some people. An example? Recently a friend of mine was talking about grocery shopping with her husband and children. She came across the seasonal display of Little Debbie cakes, and began to pick up two boxes to mail to her grandfather. Upon putting them in the cart, she remembered that her grandfather passed away this year, she quietly, and sadly, placed the boxes back on the shelf.

Before you get me wrong, I'm not hating on Christmas. I love this time of the year, genuinely, not in a “Up next on the Donnie and Marie Christmas Special is Andy Ross and he's gonna read that off some cue cards” way. I suppose why I feel a need to talk about this, is that I felt a little down last Christmas. It was odd, I didn't even feel enthusiastic about making my annual Christmas Mix CD, which has become something people actually look forward to. Seasonal Holiday Depression? Maybe. I hesitate to say that was it, but perhaps it was a mild version of it.

My friend's story about the Little Debbie cakes reminded me of this. Because it doesn't matter how happy things around her might be this Christmas, there will be moments when she is reminded of her grandfather. It may be on Christmas Eve, or it may be when she turns and sees a photo of him, or catches a glimpse of his favorite ornament on the tree. Whenever it happens, she'll be sad for a moment, and I feel like it may be that for more people than we realize. I know I feel a little this way again this year, because my grandmother is in the nursing home for the first time during Christmas.

It breaks my heart to see her there. To see her one day and things are fine, then the next someone is having to feed her. It's hard sometimes to deal with the juxtaposition of that, and the other residents in the home, with hopping into your car and hearing “Jingle Bells” on the radio. You see this, your friend's heartbreak, and you think of how ridiculous it all is that this season starts with an event in which we shoot each other just to get a deal on a damn TV. When we die, no one is going to stand up and talk about how we once saved a lot of money in 2011. Instead, I would hope they would say what a good person we were, and how we made a point to make those who needed to feel less alone, less alone.

If we all took the amount of time and energy we spent to shove people out of the way for that TV, on actually helping people, we could make this world a better place. I suppose the point that I'm trying to make with all of this, is to tell you what I'd really like for Christmas. Humanity. I want a little more humanity in the world. I hinted at this a little bit at Thanksgiving, but I feel it's ever more important at this time of year to mention it again. Small gestures, nothing too big, just more kindness in the world.

It's my sincere wish for you and your family to have a very Merry Christmas, and that the coming year will be much better for us all. However, do me one favor, and remember that there are those who are hurting, those who—despite not showing any sign of pain on their face—may be doing all they can to not cry this season. So let's raise our glasses in hope. Hope for a better year to come, hope for those who will one day see light at the end of the tunnel, and hope that we all might—in our own little way—leave this world a better place than we found it. Merry Christmas to you all.  

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