"Are you feeling Christmassy yet?"
It was a line in a conversation I overheard the other day and whilst it's an expression I've heard many times before, I was left pondering what "feeling Christmassy" actually means. I've always assumed it's to do with feeling excited about Christmas approaching and being caught up with the moment and the magic of it all. Children have no problem being Christmassy from quite early on in the year, but I've noticed more and more adults saying (rather sadly, I always feel) that it "doesn't feel like Christmas" until a particular event or date.
It's a funny expression, isn't it? We don't say that we're "feeling Easter-y" or "feeling birthday-y" so what is it about Christmas that requires us to feel that sense of captivation and an almost obligatory requirement to be jolly? It's actually one of the most lonely times of the year for many people, so why do we put ourselves under this pressure to be happier than at any other time of year?
I wonder if our lack of Christmas feeling stems from the need we seem to have to make this time of year as picture perfect as possible. We are bombarded by films, images and even TV adverts which make us feel that we should be behaving in a particular way to turn what is actually a Bible story about a child being born into a huge circus. The adverts which strike the strongest notes with me are not those which show things to buy, but are the ones which speak to our emotions. The ones that are about love, hope, sharing and happiness. You know which ones I mean.
I think this is what "feeling Christmassy" is all about. It's about the happiness you can give to others, not about the gifts. It's about the time spent with people that you want to be with, not about the number of cards you send. It's about remembering the joy that a new baby can bring to any family, and that family can extend to include the whole world.
If we think about the trees, the decorations and the festivities as being reminders of what Christmas is really about - the celebration of a baby being born who would change the course of history - rather than a countdown to a day of what we get for ourselves, then it's much easier to "feel Christmassy" without needing to wait for some event to happen. All of our emotions come from inside ourselves, no one else can cause us to feel anything we don't want to. If we chose, we could feel Christmassy at any time of the year because I think "feeling Christmassy" is about love, hope, sharing and happiness. Those emotions shouldn't be restricted to one particular time of the year, they are always available - and that truly is a gift worth having.