I’m sure we’ve all heard the 1963 song, made popular by Andy Williams, “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year.” Indeed, during this holiday period, it’s hard to go through a day without hearing it on the radio, in a store while shopping, or around your house. You know the song…..
“It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you be of good cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
It’s the hap-happiest season of all
With those holiday greetings and gay happy meetings
When friends come to call,
It’s the hap-happiest season of all….”
But is it?
Yesterday, Susie and I spent some time at the Shoprite in Somers Point, and as we were walking out, I commented to her, “Wow…there are some really, crabby unhappy people in this place”. Sourpuss faces, grumpy dispositions…a generally cranky population!
As we went back into the parking lot and unloaded the wagon into our Honda, the general theme continued. Folks were honking horns at each other, attempting to beat fellow shoppers to parking places, demanding that others move faster, and generally acting like they were the most important person on earth! Wow…”the hap-happiest season of all”?
Then we ventured out of the parking lot and onto Route 9, and believe me, it didn’t improve there! We saw no “kids jingle belling” and certainly never heard anyone telling us to be “of good cheer”. What we did see was the usual crappy driving you see this time of the year. People cutting others off, turning the wrong way down streets, driving while on their phones, and not signaling so you have an idea what their intentions are. Generally living up to my theory that the state issues thousands of licenses that are only valid from Thanksgiving through New Years, and you best pay double attention to your fellow drivers on the road this time of year, if you want to find out what you are “Doing on New Year’s Eve!”
How sad is it, that so many at this “Most Wonderful Time of the Year” act like it is anything but! Are there crowds in the stores and traffic on the roads? Yes, but it’s Christmas, what do you expect?! I’m reminded of a woman I met standing in line a long time ago at the Fortunoff Department Store back on Long Island. We were waiting to pick up some merchandise we’d just purchased, and frankly it was a rather long line, as we all were there for the same purpose. After a few minutes the lady, who was in front of me, turned to me and said, “Why are the lines so long this time of the year?” Huh? I wanted to tell her that if she perhaps did her Christmas or Hanukkah shopping in say July, she might find less crowds, but I didn’t.
I think too many people lose sight of what this holiday is all about. It’s about family and friends, its about “parties for hosting, marshmallows for toasting, and caroling out in the snow”. It’s about, “hearts will be glowing when love ones are near, and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.” Like the birth of a little baby in a stable in Bethlehem over 2000 years ago. Yes, we all have a lot to do, and sometimes the doing becomes stressful, and dealing with people becomes a chore, but please think of the lyrics of this song, and the real reason we celebrate. Christmas wasn’t created by Macys or Walmart, Target, Costco, Coca-Cola, or even the Hallmark Channel!
It’s about that little baby, it’s about family, and friends that are like family, it’s about spending time with the ones you love, and spreading the joy of the season as much as you can, even if it’s just smiling at a stranger in the store, or holding a door for someone, or thinking of those around you. Yes indeed, it is the “Most Wonderful Time of the Year,” and my wish is that we all remember that everyday, and try and make it true. I know Andy Williams will appreciate it!