Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's the most wonderful time of the year...

Or is it? I don’t know.

I always loved the atmosphere during Christmas Holidays and I do not mean religious-wise. I love the scent of burning wood, the ornaments on the Christmas trees, the smell of Christmas goodies baking, the Christmas lights and music on the street, the presents, the family and friends gatherings. I was always looking forward to all the small luxuries I could indulge in during these holidays: small trips in the country, going for skiing or ice skating, visiting hip clubs and bars, drinking champagne, eating a bit more, working a bit less and the list goes on. You get the picture.


However the last couple of years I do not feel like this anymore. And how could I? The past years have been a real challenge for Greeks with the economy falling apart and the strict measures applied to the people. The unemployment reached a new record of 26% in September, many people work without being paid or having insurance, local stores and businesses go bankrupt every day. There are so many people that do not have money to buy the essentials and there is a very disturbing rise in the amount of homeless people. So no, I do not feel the usual Christmas joy and warmth, I do not feel excited for the approaching days, I haven’t even decorated my house this year, I do not feel like decorating.

On a side note though this situation makes me think how grateful I am for all the things I have. First of all I have a loving and supporting family that is sticking together no matter how hard these times are. Me and my loved ones are blessed with good physical and mental health which is the most important thing one could wish for. I and most of the people I care about are lucky to have jobs meaning we are able to have an income to cover all essentials needed for our basic needs plus a bit more so we can help other people around us.  So maybe I won’t decorate this year because I find it unfair to people that don’t have money to even buy food. I may not buy presents for my friends and family. I will not sit by the fireplace listening to Christmas songs drinking a bottle of good wine and I won’t go out to some upscale bar to celebrate. All this seems so meaningless now and I do not feel there is anything to celebrate when there is so much struggle and unhappiness around me. I will try to help though: donate the money I’d spent on gifts to organizations that help homeless people. Give clothes and blankets to homeless children charities. Offer food maybe spend some of my free time servicing people in nursing homes.

But then again, isn’t this what Christmas is all about? Don’t people come closer during these days, smile more, hug more, express love more? Doesn’t Christmas represent caring for each other, giving and loving? I know it does for me. And thinking it this way, I believe I might have the most meaningful Christmas ever after all. Wish all of you do too.

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