Every day isn’t Christmas.  In fact, sometimes even Christmas day isn’t Christmas. The Red West penned song our man sang so beautifully, “If Everyday Was Like Christmas” has an endearing sentiment, one that would be wonderfully welcomed world wide.

Bells tolling sweetly, not in an annoying way, but each strike symbolizing a happy heart and goodwill to all. The choir lifts the same thoughtful emotion, voices in unison embracing the recipients, a genuine felt hold upon the heartstrings. Attitudes are contented and pleasantries joyfully exchanged among humankind. A childlike innocence of expectations and genuine emotive spirit of happy wonderment is expressed on every face – all bringing the sincerity of a Christmas heart that gently whispers ‘peace” to the world.

In actuality, it’s this forced expectation that makes the holiday so difficult for so many. It’s akin to social media, surrounded by happiness and a feeling of missing out. A falsehood of being on the outside looking in at happiness and joy that seems to have passed you by is common. In truth, the holidays are just plain hard. The ideology of the season far surpasses the reality.

It’s said that Elvis loved Christmas. The holidays brought him a tremendous joy, most likely because of his ability to be generous and to give with a grateful heart. He’d known intense poverty most of us can only imagine. He’d witnessed hopelessness in his own family and his community. I would imagine there were more than a few Christmases offerings were meager. I’m certain that was never forgotten. But on the inside, what was in his heart? How did he really feel upon awakening on those December 25th mornings after he became wealthy and famous?

He only had one Christmas spent at his beloved  Graceland while his mother was still living, December 1957. That one also had a draft notice hanging above his head. Surely many thoughts swirled as there was that unknown in the offering. 1958 and 1959 were Army years, and the first holidays with great loss, no matter where he was geographically.

As larger than life Elvis Presley appears at times, his humanity shared with the rest of us has always been a strong portion of his appeal. He bled when cut. Like mere mortals, he could put on a brave face when needed. He could play the game and hide his melancholy amidst the many Memphis mafia playmates. I pray his Christmases held some true happiness.

After his marriage dissolved and shared visits with his daughter were the order of the day, I would think some holidays were tinged with a familiar amount of sadness, a missing out on what could have been, or what he saw in others. How many times did he gaze at his baby girl and wish his dear mother was there too? This is all speculation on my part.

Christmas, or the idea of how Christmas should be, puts tremendous stress on a lot of people. It’s the thought of being less than the norm, not having the togetherness, estrangement of relationships and holding onto past grudges that dot the Christmas landscape. It’s recent losses, or long ago losses, that are emphasized during the holidays. It’s feeling alone looming large as no one else appears to be in the same circumstances. It’s the isolated feeling wrestling with a world of happy jolly holiday go-ers – and knowing the outcome that lies within is very different. It’s the let down of feeling a feeling that by all accounts, no one should feel during the season of joy.

Even Christmas can feel very un-Christmas like. Keep it simple and remember less is more. It’s the mind that does us in. Don’t be too hard on yourself. As Red so expressively and indirectly stated, the sentiment is what is important, more so than the single day.  

Do what makes you happiest to celebrate. It truly would be wonderful if every day could be like the spirit of Christmas. Then maybe the actuality of the holiday would be a little less laborious. One day at a time.

I hear the bells

Saying Christmas is near

They ring out to tell the world

That this is the season of cheer

I hear a choir

Singing sweetly somewhere

And a glow fills my heart

I’m at peace with the world

As the sound of their singing fills the air

Oh why can’t every day be like Christmas

Why can’t that feeling go on endlessly

For if everyday could be just like Christmas

What a wonderful world this would be

I hear a child

Telling Santa what to bring

And the smile upon his tiny face

Is worth more to me than anything