December 24, 2015 by Cláudia
Christmas never meant anything to me, anything good at least. I never related to it in a religious way or like a tradition that I cherished. On the contrary, Christmas time always unnerved me in many ways: I thought it was a time where people pretended to be generous and did donations to those seasonal charity campaigns to make themselves feel better about having quite a comfortable life while others live in poverty and misery. I couldn’t stand the constant happy Christmas songs, the green and red everywhere, the constant commercials inciting people to buy their happiness, families pretending to be functional and loving… I always faced it at a hypocritical time, an interlude of rejoicing and faked Humanity that, once over, went back to the self-centered individualism. Every “Joy to the World” or “Jingle Bells” was for me a reminder of general hypocrisy and I couldn’t stand the mere sight of Christmas near me.
All these years, Christmas in my family was also hypocritical. We got along terribly and then put up a show like we were the best family. This year, spending it with someone I care about and getting along significantly better with my mom, I noticed something rather curious: I also changed. I did things I wanted to do before but never really did. I went somewhere on purpose to talk to a man that stood there everyday of the week selling small stuff. He was from Venezuela and was trying to go back home. I bought him some bracelets and gave him the exchange, we has really happy and grateful. It felt good, I wondered why I casually walked by him so many times without buying anything or talking to him and this time I went there on purpose. There is a charity newspaper that is sold by people with difficulties and I always wanted to support that but never did until now. This year I bought fair trade and looked for a sold out book for my mom. I reached out to people I once was too busy to remember they existed.
This year things felt different. Maybe I’m becoming less bitter with the world. Maybe I’m learning to make the best of every situation. All I know is, Christmas spirit affected me and I don’t think in a hypocritical way. I felt it was a propitious environment for me to do things I wanted to do, to change from thinking to doing. Maybe Christmas spirit is real. Maybe people temporarily become their better selves.
Feeling that this time had a sort of positive effect on me, now I want it to go on. Why is that when this time is over, we go back to being our selfish self-centered selves?
One day I had this daydreaming type of fantasy in which I was like a society’s angel. I spent all my money except the one I needed in helping other people being happy. I helped everyone that needed me. I spent time with myself and fulfilled my needs but I spent time with others.
Why doesn’t this happen? I feel like there’s no time. Time of course is just a mental construction, there would be time if there was availability. But it seems like I haven’t enough willpower. Why is that when the environment is auspicious people soften and become more generous and connected but then right after coldly return to acting like machines? I used to think Humankind was inherently bad but not anymore.
The way we act in this short interlude shows we can be better if the conditions are favorable to that. Maybe we can extend Christmas spirit beyond Christmas times.