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Channeling George Bailey

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Posted 12-28-2012 at 05:15 PM by Jeff Westover

We are slow to give up Christmas in my house. I've never much understood those folks who kick their Christmas tree to the curb on Christmas night (well, unless it is a fire hazard). So we saw nothing wrong with watching It's a Wonderful Life last night, two days after Christmas.

The week of Christmas is always a week I enjoy. Maybe it is because the pressure is off and I can actually enjoy the spontaneous bit of Christmas I missed earlier in the month. But it is also a time of reflection and planning ahead. Many people consider that a New Year's activity. But for me and what I do, it is definitely part of my Christmas routine. My whole year's to-do list for MMC begins with the big ideas of this week, while the experience of the season is still fresh in my mind.

But this year there was a bit of melancholy to my routine. We did not have our best season here at MMC. There are a lot of reasons for that and if I had to assess "blame" it would be on my personal family issues swallowing so much of my time in 2012. I would also blame Google, a terrible economy, advertisers who did not pay, and spammers/hackers that would not quit.

To be frank I've spent most of 2012 in a funk. I did not get a chance to approach this season with anything resembling a strategy and I am far from satisfied with the result.

In my mind I've questioned whether or not this is worth all that it has become. The expense is enormous and like most others I have seen my personal economy shrink these past several years. The time it takes is endless too. Far too much of this is work I do not enjoy. I got into to this as an outlet for my writing and because I simply love Christmas. I didn't get into this because I have any talent or patience or skill for design, programming or Internet business. Now, lest I sound ungrateful, I would note the many things I have learned and the many areas in which I've grown over the past 21 years. But 2012 was an epic failure in many ways that I've approached my Christmas week routine with trepidation.

Can I recover? Can we comeback? Can we even survive? Can we get back to a standard I know we're capable of? Does anybody beside me really even care?

I had hopes, considering our beginnings, of building this with my children. I had dreams that one day I'd hand this over to one of them, thinking that one of their generation could take it to a new level.

Such a fool's errand. My kids are doing what kids do. They are pursuing their hopes and dreams and not the foolish musings of an old man. I can't get them to come here more than now and then and I certainly can't interest them in contributing.

As that realization has sunk in over time I've wondered where some of our more passionate members have gone. I used to be flooded with those who wanted to write, who wanted to share ideas, who wanted to contribute in some way -- anyway -- just because it is Christmas and it is fun. They never call or write any more.

I've been discouraged as well at the inexplicable loss of some stalwart members this last year. In some cases it has happened without explanation or warning. Poof. They were gone.

Of course, these are different times. Life is hard right now. Money is tight, time is likely tighter. And folks are feeling more blue than even me, I suppose.

All of these things and more I have been fighting this week as I've considered the road ahead and tried to pull myself up by the boot straps.

As we watched It's A Wonderful Life last night I seemed to zero in on George Bailey as he went home after agonizing over the loss of $8,000. Nothing seemed to pull him from his darkness. Not his children playing Christmas carols. Not his family decorating the tree. Not the turkey in roasting in the oven or the hope of Christmas right in front of him.

It seems to me that I've been channeling the dark George Bailey. It took Clarence and a look at life without him for George to embrace what was wonderful about going to jail and embracing scandal.

I'm not that far gone.

I saw the movie to the end and, like George, I've come around.

After all, like George, my friends have rallied around me. We had a successful season at Santa's Sleigh and through a lot of selfless acts as well as donations we helped a few folks have a Christmas. That feels good.

Our numbers for the World's Largest Christmas Party were small but you know what? We had a great time and we're planning to do it again.

We have felt the Christmas spirit this year despite the ugliness of a bitter campaign season and a world of cruel news from Newtown to all points beyond.

Christmas is enduring.

And it has me thinking big. Like George, I want to scream "Merry Christmas!" as I consider the inspired hours of the past two days. I don't know if I will have the time or the money or the talent or the help I need to do all these things.

But you know what?

It hardly matters. What matters is that countdown to Christmas 2013 has begun and I can hardly wait to get down to it.
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Total Comments 7

Comments

  1. Old Comment
    xmas365's Avatar
    Merry Christmas, Jeff!
    Posted 12-28-2012 at 06:08 PM by xmas365 xmas365 is offline
  2. Old Comment
    momnan30's Avatar
    Jeff,thanks for the many things you do that we don't even know about to keep the balls in the air. I hope this is a better year in all aspects. Blessings on you and your family.
    Posted 12-28-2012 at 07:03 PM by momnan30 momnan30 is offline
  3. Old Comment
    RadioJonD's Avatar
    YES! Somebody besides you really cares, Jeff! Several somebodys if I had to guess!
    Posted 12-29-2012 at 11:57 AM by RadioJonD RadioJonD is offline
  4. Old Comment
    xmastidings's Avatar
    I can understand your heart felt pains, your worries, your hopes, and your concerns. How you manage to do all that you do, is beyond me, your a better man than me....

    You are a inspiration to all of us! If this means anything, we need you, we thank you and we appreciate you and all that you do!

    I personally thank you for creating a place, were we can come together and share our love for Christmas, make new friends and for allowing us to become the extended family we are together....

    These are trying times that we are in and I have a feeling that they may get worse before they get any better. God willing, there will be better days ahead for all of our futures, but in the meantime, we all have each other; you have us and we have you! I wish you and your family(s), a blessed Merry Christmas and a safe and Happy New Years!!!
    Posted 12-29-2012 at 08:09 PM by xmastidings xmastidings is offline
  5. Old Comment
    JayIsh's Avatar
    I was "off" this year too...Maybe for longer than just the Christmas season. The world is heavy, laborous and humorless at the moment. What was once smooth and simple has become extroadinarily complicated and rough. Peoples nerves are frayed and barking at one another is the "new normal". I get home at night sometimes and lock my front door and breath a sigh of relief that I am home and safe and locked in tight.

    MMC offers those with a year long hankering, a place to gather and commune and celebrate life's small victories and miracles. Whether it be ten or ten thousand strong, those taking part leave better for the time spent.

    That's my opinion anyway...
    Posted 01-02-2013 at 01:05 PM by JayIsh JayIsh is offline
  6. Old Comment
    lauriebear's Avatar
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by JayIsh View Comment
    I was "off" this year too...Maybe for longer than just the Christmas season. The world is heavy, laborous and humorless at the moment. What was once smooth and simple has become extroadinarily complicated and rough. Peoples nerves are frayed and barking at one another is the "new normal". I get home at night sometimes and lock my front door and breath a sigh of relief that I am home and safe and locked in tight.

    MMC offers those with a year long hankering, a place to gather and commune and celebrate life's small victories and miracles. Whether it be ten or ten thousand strong, those taking part leave better for the time spent.

    That's my opinion anyway...
    Thanks Jayish - Life does have a way of swallowing our time and today with the 24/7 lives we lead I sometimes feel myself getting tense with people and I must admit it isn't always them sometimes it is me - I guess this place offers such comfort it is better then any homemade mac n' cheese dish!!! LOL But really I mean that if I need a lift I know I can come here and go to the blogs or the count down thread it is great place
    Posted 01-03-2013 at 02:24 PM by lauriebear lauriebear is offline
  7. Old Comment
    'Tis the season's Avatar
    I'd like to put on record my thanks to Jeff and the team here at mmc. times are indeed hard for people and these forums have become a place for me to get away from the stress and worry. A place to enjoy the company and thoughts, musings and daily lives of others who like me, find their thoughts turning to Christmas past and future, during the day. Every time a new pod cast goes up it's like a treat. Something to enjoy instead of listening to the daily woes of the news on the commute to work. Times my be difficult now, but now is not forever. Things change, they always do. I hope this site continues and thrives, because good places like this are needed in good times and in bad.
    Posted 01-08-2013 at 10:08 AM by 'Tis the season 'Tis the season is offline
 
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