Merry Christmas and a “Ho, Ho, Ho” to you. As the years have passed, my head has grown bald, my beard white and stomach round. As a result, I’ve had people tell me I look like Santa Claus. “No”, I say, “he’s the jolly one.” Sometimes it is amusing to play the old curmudgeon, but it’s not a way to live, so it’s mostly an act for comedic effect or to emphasize the ironic. Mostly.
During this time of the year, grumpiness and joy are abound everywhere. ‘Tis the season, so I thought I would offer thoughts on Christmas that are true to both emotions.
We have talked about the opportunities for frustration during this past year with COVID both in this column and in way too many public and private discourses. So, to save us all, I’ll pause with that topic. Enough, already, right? Instead, I’ll acknowledge the traditions of the season that still ring true (even in COVID).
Enjoying the Season
This Christmas season, like many before it, carry the familiar tune of seasonal music. How could I be grumpy with all of that? All I Want for Christmas is Yoooo-ooo-ou brings a smile to my face as I imagine a companion piece, while any other holiday I would be singing, “All I Want for the Fourth of July is Yoooo-ooo-ou to Go Away.” There’s that curmudgeon thing again.
Songs with repetitive phrases like “jing-jing-jingaling” and “hap, hap, happiest” drive me out of my mind. I associate those songs with shopping malls, department stores and headaches. The headaches are from slamming my head in the car door a few times after leaving those splendiferous bastions of retail excess.
But hey, there’s good news for those of you like me that aren’t big on the shopping experience: online retail is up and thriving. All the more exciting: Amazon delivers, even on Sundays (is that really necessary?).
Tinseled Trees & Timeless Traditions
Beyond the grumpiness I seem to exude, I really do enjoy the Christmas season. I’ve put up a tree earlier this year – mostly because I bought an artificial tree last year. I truly like the change I made, and the tree proves to be a great companion on early mornings and late evenings. Beyond that change, I particularly enjoy the season’s weather. If the temperature has dropped, I like it more. Somehow, that cold just makes the lights seem a little brighter. Plus, there are grandkids to consider during the season. They are little bundles of joyful excitement when they come to visit, and the Christmas tree is the center of their focus.
Let’s not forget about the Christmas music I actually enjoy – I’ll admit to the old crooners being a seasonal favorite. Perry Como, Bing Crosby and Andy Williams all bring happiness, especially in small doses! I usually spend my December listening all the way through to several CDs two or three times each. Other seasonal songs like Leon Redbone’s Christmas songs, Handel’s Messiah, or Martina Mcbride’s version of “O Holy Night” is often playing at my house during this time of year. To that I say: plan your visits accordingly.
Lastly there’s eggnog. I love the stuff. I’m not proud of it, but it’s true. Between November and Christmas, I buy a carton or three and then lie to my primary care doctor about it each January. Tradition: we’d be lost without it.
We Heard Him Holler ‘Stop’
Enough about my seasonal grumpiness and joy. This column is supposed to be about investing, so let’s get back to priorities:
During this Christmas season, let’s invest, separately and together. I’ve bounced around thinking about things that bring joy each Christmas and others that make me shake my head in amusement. From memories of childhood to hopes for my grandkids and all the years in between, I realize my thoughts and experiences are blended into a patchwork mosaic for me to add to and re-assemble each year around this time. Memories and sorrows blended together to make a life; it’s quite a picture.
Why don’t you do the same for yourself? Let’s think about where we want to invest that most precious of our resources: our hearts. It’s a very busy and very noisy world. Social media has become a reality in all our lives and with it, the tendency to drown out the still, small voices of our hearts.
This year, I hope you will find the time, and the quiet, to listen to your own still, small voice. Remember those things which are the dearest treasures in your life. Then invest… with all your heart.