Last post I talked a bit of the wonder of a child's Christmas.
Christmas as a child is a beautiful time when magic is real, anything is possible,
and the Big Day seems to drag closer ever so slowly.
And well it should. When you are five, a year until next Christmas is literally 20% of your life!
As you age, the holidays seem to fly by as your perspective stretches out
along with the number of holidays you have seen.
But as a child ... The whimsy of the day is real. The unbridled, child-like innocence is real.
No gift you will receive as an adult with thrill you like your Christmas gifts of childhood.
The focus switches from magic to materialism. The Macy's Day Parade becomes old hat.
What your school friends want finds its way on your gift list.
Use my allowance or after-school job money on others? What are you talking about?
The Red Sea both receives and gives water.
The Dead Sea only receives, never gives.
One over-flows with life; the other is stagnant and dead.
TWENTY-SOMETHING WITH KIDS
The old joy of Christmas is re-kindled with seeing the joy in their children's eyes. Old faerie tales are now read aloud to wide eyes.
The magic is reborn.
Putting the lights on the Christmas Tree becomes a family tradition. Happy Memories are sowed in the hearts of both parents and children alike.
TWENTY-SOMETHING WITHOUT KIDS
Materialism goes on steroids.
Yet, with the focus on the self, Christmas becomes emptier. The giving of gifts to co-workers and friends make of the holidays a drudgery.
Some yearn for the wonder and innocence of their childhood Christmas.
Some find the magic again by giving at homeless shelters and food tents.
THIRTY TO MIDDLE AGE
We look back at our younger selves and realize how much we've changed.
The answer, of course, is that we all grow up --
and for many of us, what it means to be "happy" slowly evolves into something completely different.
Social psychologists describe this change as a consequence of a gradual shifting from promotion motivation --
seeing our goals in terms of what we can gain,
or how we can end up better off, to prevention motivation --
seeing our goals in terms of avoiding loss and keeping things running smoothly.
And how we experience Christmas is colored by those changes in perspective.
OUR SILVER AGE
Those of us with grandchildren get the best of both worlds.
We get the joy of basking in the love of young children with the plus of being able to hand them back to their parents!
Cradling young infants in the middle of the day gives us an excuse for an mid-day snooze, too.
AS THE SHADOWS GATHER
Many brood over what they have lost and not upon what they still have left.
Christmas carols spark memories of lost friends and of lost opportunities.
Yet the wisest in this age group find that Christmas is for the young ... at heart
(no matter their physical age.)
In a strange way, sixty is the new twenty.
The youngest people, teenagers, people in their 20s, are the least happy group of people.
There's a lot of uncertainty and you are forming your identity and you're not really sure who you are.
Old age actually can bring happiness.
Now why are older people happier?
I think one of the main reasons is when we're older we're emotionally wiser.
HOW DO YOU VIEW THIS CHRISTMAS?