There is a song by Faith Hill, Where are you Christmas? I believe it was in the sound track for The Grinch movie back in 2000. It's been nearly 20 years since this song was released and the lyrics ring loud in my heart.
Where are you Christmas
Why can't I find you
Why have you gone away
Where is the laughter
You used to bring me
Why can't I hear music play
My world is changing
Does that mean Christmas changes too
Where are you Christmas
Do you remember
The one you used to know
I'm not the same one
See what the time's done
Is that why you have let me go
Through conversation with multiple people I find a reoccurring theme. Christmas just isn't the same anymore. Why is that?
I believe several things factor into this. One, the device you are most likely holding in your hand; smart phones/iPads or any compact electronic devices that connects us instantly to the World Wide Web. What we fail to realize is that it's disconnecting us from real life right in front of us. We are not engaged with those around us. We are more concerned with how many likes a photo has, who shared what, and getting lost aimlessly scrolling Facebook. What are we looking for anyway? What was created to keep friends and family connected has actually become a tool to disconnect us with those right in front of us.
Secondly, families don't gather like they used too. I remember gathering at my Nanny's house. We went early and stayed all day. Eating, laughing, playing games. We engaged with each other. I'm finding more and more families that no longer do this. They may get together at someone's house but the dynamics are different. No one dresses up festive. There are not conversations and preparations about what you are going to wear to Christmas dinner. After an hour or two people start dropping like flies to head back home. It's not a social gathering but more of an obligatory dinner.
It seems like when it's time for the patriarch of the family to pass the baton it drops. No one wants to take the lead. The respect for our families and traditions cease to exist. I'm confident this isn't every family but I worry this is going to become the norm.
I want to challenge you this Christmas to engage with your loved ones. Even the ones you don't like. Set the example for the younger generation coming up. Play a game. Go on a walk after your Christmas brunch. Watch a funny move. Turn the phone, computer and iPad notifications off. Invest your time. That is what will be remembered. That is the greatest gift you can give.