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Is Christmas a Big Disappointment

As a baby boomer, Denise and millions of others are becoming senior citizens. She explores what it means to be over 60 today.

Just a fantasy

Just a fantasy

The Big Disappointment

For many years the holiday season was a big disappointment to me, so much so that on a couple of occasions, I refused to decorate, stating what’s the use. One year I wanted to crawl under the covers and wait till the whole month went away and I could start fresh with a new year.

This year I asked some friends and family is they were looking forward to Christmas or if it was a big disappointment to them. I felt sure I wasn't the only one. I’m including a few of their thoughts here.

Christmas is a season not only of rejoicing but of reflection.

— Winston Churchill

It's a blue Christmas

It's a blue Christmas

Loss

My husband lost his job in 2009 and the following year I lost mine as well. We then lost our home and had to pare down to one car and a one-bedroom apartment. For the most part, I like having less to deal with and less to clean, that is until the holidays come around. That’s when depression hits.

Sheryl: I love celebrating Christ, all the joyful music, decorations, family, and friends coming together! I’m not without my own struggles – miss my Dad and Brother; rear-ended in August, shingles in October. I choose to focus on the good.

Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn't come from a store.

— Dr. Seuss

Decorating with cards

Decorating with cards

Expectations

I don’t want to appear selfish but the truth is that most of it was over finances. I knew that not only could we not get any gifts for our family but we were expecting nothing for ourselves as well. It made me want to cry.

Lynda: My Son called a few days ago and said, “Mom, no gifts! Gifts pile up and I don’t want “stuff” that people will have to go through when I’m gone! All I want is a text message, a few words (he lives far away from me) now and then.” The Gift of no Gifts. If we were near, time spent with each other, a meal together, such simple things can be and are such precious gifts. The holidays should be a celebration of life not about getting in debt.

It will never be just like when you were a kid.

It will never be just like when you were a kid.

Financial Worries

We have had to deal with lack before but this was an extreme that I wasn’t used to facing. There used to be some extra coming from somewhere, but I just couldn’t see how anymore. My eyes were on my own plight and not on the obvious source of supply, my faith. It wasn’t until I began looking up instead of looking around at the circumstances that my attitude got better.

Becky: I love parts of the holiday season, and some parts I can live without. I love the frosty walks and the lights. I love the Christmas singing and the warmth of standing next to my husband in church as we sing together. I love the gathering with family, friends, and food. I don’t love the shopping. I don’t love the traffic. I don’t love the craziness. I love, love, love the hush that follows the activity as I sit by the fire in the solitude that follows the storm.

If you haven't got any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.

— Bob Hope

The joy when the kids were young.

The joy when the kids were young.

Empty Nest

We are empty-nesters, which means all the chicks have flown the coop. They all have homes and families of their own now, with their own worries and financial dilemmas. This means for me that the decorating and the cleaning up is all my chore and I have no more helping hands. Isn’t it funny how we finally train the children to where they are a joy to be around and a huge help to have around when it is time for them to leave? It means a job well done.

Jennifer: I love the Christmas season!! I wish we focused more on celebrating the season with family and friends rather than rushing around to buy gifts. I love to decorate and cook for everyone.

A Kid's Illusions

When I was a youth in my parent’s home, the magic of Christmas, the decorating, the cooking, the lights, all held my imagination and wonder. Now it is just a chore.

Desta: I love Christmas! It’s a time of year when everybody can be too busy for anything but I often take the opportunity to get together one on one with people who I don’t see any other time of the year. It’s a very special time of year, not to mention anticipating a fantastic birthday celebration for the One reason for the season.

Make a point of making solo dates with friends you don’t get to see often. It’ll warm your heart. Peppermint mochas don’t hurt, either!

So much red and green

So much red and green

Overworked

I think the key here is only to do what you can and let the rest go. We have our limitations as we get older and it’s okay not to do everything. It’s okay if there isn’t a gingerbread house this year as long as we have an apple pie and dressing. I’m still learning to let it go.

Tracy: Christmas is my favorite time of year but it is getting harder and harder each year. Physical limitations make it hard to do those Christmas things I enjoyed like baking and decorating. Most of my family doesn’t seem to care about the “magic of Christmas” that comes from the details, which can get me really down. I have to always remind myself that Jesus is the focus and giving is what it is about. Giving what I can… not perfection.

Need help decorating?

Need help decorating?

Under-appreciated

Perhaps part of my depression was because I felt under-appreciated. The work seemed to be taken for granted and when I decided not to do it my husband kicked into helper mode and did it for me that year. I thought I would enjoy seeing someone else pick up the slack but I didn’t. As a matter of fact, I felt guilty and even more underappreciated. It was time to pull myself out of the doldrums. I have felt much better about myself and the season when I just learned to embrace it even if we weren’t getting any gifts.

Lysa: Not having extra money to decorate, make a meal, or get gifts makes me feel worthless.

is-christmas-a-big-disappointment

Final Thoughts

What Lysa is feeling is what I was feeling. I was looking at my lack and not at my abundance. Compared to most of the rest of the world, I am rich. I have a place to live with heat in the winter and air conditioning in the summer. We own a car. We have food in the cabinets and dishes to eat off of. We are truly rich people, and God provides all our needs. I am giving my family the gift of no gifts and the treat of my presence instead of presents.

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