Before the storm | AspenTimes.com

Before the storm

Paul E. Anna

Aspen, CO ColoradoSome people hate the holidays.Whether it’s Christmas, Kwanzaa, or Hanukkah, they just don’t buy into the pomp and circumstance that comes with this season. And for many, the lack of holiday cheer comes with good reason.The holiday season is the most stressful time of year for many people. It involves family memories, some good, some bad. Christmas carols, some good, some hideous. Too much food, almost all of it too good. But the combination of it all takes folks out of their everyday doings and puts them into a false reality.Then there is the increasing commercialism that has become the hallmark of the holidays. All of us are inundated with the message that the spirit of the season requires us to participate in the spending frenzy to buy, buy, buy. The endless advertising is not just relentless, it is, after a while – say by Dec. 1 – positively nausea-inducing.Here in Aspen, we have a special holiday problem. Starting about now, we have to give up the town to those who are spending their dream holiday in what to us is our home, but what to them is a glitzy, trendy, holiday playground. Many of us will be putting in long hours and losing lots of sleep to make the holidays special for our valued guests, in the hopes they will leave beaucoup bucks behind in their wake. Good luck.Yes, there is no doubt this can be a difficult time of year.But sometimes we just have to break things down. Get back to the basics. Remember that people throughout history have chosen this time of year, right near the winter solstice and the beginning of the new year, to celebrate all that is great about life. Christmas, Kwanzaa and Hanukkah all have different origins, but it is not a coincidence that they are celebrated at the same time.Peace, love and good will toward our fellow man are staples of the seasonal celebration, even if they do get overshadowed in our consumerism. If we stop for just a second and get back to the basics of the season, we can all feel a little better about this time of year.Start by being thankful for the lot in your life. All those tourists come here because they envy the place you are lucky enough to call home. Next, remember that the giving of gifts has its origins in the spirit of selflessness rather than that of the almighty dollar. Buy to give because your presents may actually make someone you love happy. That someone may actually be a family member whom you have had issues with in the past, but, because they are family, flesh and blood, deserves another chance. Give generously.And for god’s sake, eat, drink and be merry. You are among the luckiest people ever to grace this Earth. Celebrate like you deserve it.Have a Happy Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Christmas.