We Do This Every Year. Why?

10 Dec

“I don’t even read newspapers, and yet, around this time of year every year, I am aware of the number of articles written about the frenetic, fast-paced shopping and social frenzy of getting through the ‘holiday season.’

“It never sounds like much of a holiday to me, and I ask myself,


When our cup, or basket, is running over, that’s supposed to be a good thing. Brimming Over by Steve Henderson.

“Why do we do this to ourselves — Every. Single. Year?

“As we launch into a month that has sacred and secular observances for many, I encourage you to make these celebrations your own, focusing on the meaning and the joy of each, foregoing the mania and the chaos that those newspaper articles, ironically, promote.

“I wish you, and all of us, a true season of Joy.”

From Start Your Week with Steve, the free weekly online newsletter of Steve Henderson Fine Art.

So what does this have to do with art — creating it or enjoying it?

A lot, actually, because it has to do with our perception of what is true, and what is not, based upon the external influences that push themselves into our lives, in this case, newspaper articles.

Around this time of year, article after article, blog after blog, offer 10 tips, or 7 tips, or the 3 ultimate tips, for avoiding holiday stress, hammering in the message with such force and strength that we never stop to ask ourselves: “Are my holidays stressed? And if they’re not, should they be? Is there something wrong with me?”

Most of the time, we don’t stop long enough to ask ourselves these basic questions, simply internalizing, without thinking about it, the message of the day, to the point that we unconsciously murmur in agreement when someone says, “Oh, those holidays! They’re stressful.”

If it’s not the holidays, then it’s something else — like what constitutes good art, or what we “should” be hanging up in our homes, or what “collectors” value, or what colors work and which don’t, or whether abstract is a higher form of artistic expression on the evolutionary scale or not — article after article, written by expert after expert, or worse yet, advertisement after advertisement, carefully crafted by marketing strategists, hammers in the message until it becomes a part of our inner being, and colors our actual judgment of the situation.

Stop. Breathe. Free yourself to ask the basic questions — who is going to get inside your head and scold your for independent thought?

And enjoy the holidays, by the way.


2 Responses to “We Do This Every Year. Why?”

  1. Jana Botkin December 13, 2012 at 3:06 am #

    Whenever I see articles about reducing holiday stress or simplifying gift giving, it makes me wonder why people don’t learn from the articles. Clearly they aren’t learning, since the articles have to be republished each year!

    And I have often wondered if I am a freak because I don’t experience holiday stress, social frenzy or credit card blues. . . thank you for this article!

    • middleagedplague December 13, 2012 at 4:50 pm #

      Jana: Excellent point. I imagine there are a lot of other non-news articles that we never learn from as well.

      Don’t think you’re abnormal at all for not experience the Christmas stress thing — rather, wildly and joyfully in the right place!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: