“I think there must be something wrong with me, Linus. Christmas is coming, but I’m not happy. I don’t feel the way I’m supposed to feel. I just don’t understand Christmas, I guess. I like getting presents and sending Christmas cards, and decorating trees and all that, but I’m still not happy. I always end up feeling depressed.” –Charlie Brown
It’s officially Christmas season, and while our spirits can feel temporarily lifted, we can also suffer from Charlie-Brown-Syndrome. Feeling let down…feeling discouraged… overwhelmed by the Christmas consumerism. Especially when we venture out into the madness of the stores, one can easily find themselves reaching for their temples, their brow wrinkling up as they deeply sigh “good grief.”
If Charlie Brown could only travel to 2014, oh my, he might drop dead from the amount of commercialism and spending that we do during the holiday season! Sadly, we have let companies confuse us about Christmas- making us believe that the spirit of giving means buying and mass consuming. If you aren’t consuming, you aren’t celebrating Christmas “correctly.” If you aren’t celebrating Christmas, you are a miser and a grinch.
It’s way too easy to get sucked into the sales and advertisements, with each promising a shiny new thing. Each store making you think that they have the answer, only to realize upon your arrival that you are completely let down by the pile of plastic junk on display (manufactured in China of course!) and available for you to buy at a ridiculous price.
“Dear Santa Claus: How have you been? Did you have a nice summer? How is your wife? I have been extra good this year, so I have a long list of presents that I want. Please note the size and color of each item. If it seems too complicated, make it easy on yourself. Just send money. How about tens and twenties?” -Sally Brown
Christmas is not about this iron grip that we have on objects. Happiness does not reside in the possession of such, and it cannot be purchased with tens and twenties. When you think of the Christmas’ past- do you think of the objects you received? Or do you instead remember where you were or who you were with?
Lucy’s solution to Charlie Brown’s problem is involvement; Linus, Christ. While both paths can offer comfort and clarity during this time of year (depending on your religious beliefs), I think there is a third path less traveled and worth mentioning, which is to look inward. The holiday season asks us to go out of ourselves- to find happiness through possessions and other people, but it doesn’t ask us to go within. This is probably why so many of us suffer like Charlie- we neglect our inner desires and we are detached from the natural world and our connection to it. We are plugged into the socket of the artificial.
The media reminds us everyday that we are lacking. What we Charlie Browns are really lacking is not products but is happiness inside the fiber of our being. Trying to fill this emptiness with temporary external solutions, whether it be through purchases or other means, is distracting us from the growing problem within ourselves. Wayne Dyer once said that “there is no way to happiness- happiness is THE way.” When we practice self love and we see that we are divinely connected to the creator, to nature, to the universe, and not as a separate entity- we can start to feel like we are really part of the Christmas spirit. Furthermore, when we feel one and whole with ourselves and our relationships, through organic means and not artificial, the commercialism loses it’s power. It can be brushed off easier and seen as an empty vessel.
Charlie Brown may have been a “blockhead,” but he had it right when he said “I won’t let this commercialism get me down.” We each have our own Charlie Brown tree inside our hearts: it’s a little run down, it may even be broken or bent. However, it doesn’t have to be fake, shiny, and aluminum to be grand. In fact, it just needs to be real and open. “It just needs a little love.”
All we need is a little love.