I came across a post on Unam Sanctuam Catholicam that I think goes a long way towards explaining the common feeling of angst and depression that comes to many during the Christmas Season.
Before I go into anything that Boniface has said, let me point out one thing at the start: Christmas *is* a SEASON (which should be lived year 'round, really). Christmas is NOT a "day." I turn on my Sirius Christmas channel today to hear that they are back to Chopin and away from anything Christmas. That is so sad. No wonder people get depressed at Christmas. It is hyped up by the media from October onward, made into a mad frenzy of consumerism, and tossed away the day after, like every expensive consumable we have worked so hard to purchase that is supposed to bring us happiness.
This lack of lasting happiness is shown in many secular Christmas songs. Boniface, of Unam Sanctam Catholicam points out that many of today's nostalgically favorite secular Christmas songs were written in the post World War II era of the 1940's and '50's, and sing longingly of a past that was beginning to become out of reach for many in those days, and is gone completely for us today. The idea of many generations coming to a family farm for Christmas ("Home for the Holidays") or riding through drifts of snow in a sleigh pulled by horses wearing bells ("Jingle Bells") makes Christmas into nothing more than a nostalgic look back at something that is long gone. Even "White Christmas" assumes that an uncontrollable winter weather event (with apologies to Al Gore) is what *makes* it Christmas. Without Christ, humanity has gone back to seeking joy and happiness where it doesn't exist--in things; in gifts and possessions; in the weather; in lifestyles mostly gone.
I shudder to think what our more "modern" Christmas songs are telling us. "Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer"? "Santa Baby"? Christmas, like Christianity in general is now something to be put down and made fun of, like the picked-on kid at school.
As Boniface says, "this secular Christmas music exposes how bankrupt our culture is..."
No wonder we're depressed.
If we don't celebrate the birth of Christ, we are forced to celebrate "Blatant Consumer Day", or perhaps, "Depressing Nostalgia Day", by shopping until we drop and then running to the stores the next day to take it all back, because its not what we wanted.
Take a look, in contrast, at Christmas Hymns.
Good Christian Men, rejoice, with heart and soul and voice!
Joy to the world, the Lord is come! Let earth receive her King. Let every heart prepare Him room, and Heaven and nature sing.
O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant! O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem. Come, and behold Him, born the King of angels. O come, let us adore Him!
Angels we have heard on high, sweetly singing o're the plains. And the mountains in reply, echoing their joyous strains. Gloria in excelsis deo!
Hark, the herald angels sing! Glory to the newborn King! Peace on Earth and mercy mild. God and sinners reconciled. Joyful all ye nations rise. Join the triumph of the skies. With angelic hosts proclaim, Christ is born in Bethlehem.
That's what Christmas is all about. That is what brings joy to the heart, no matter what type of nostalgic lifestyle you may or may not be presently practicing.
Joy comes first, through Christ. What we do for others, is an outgrowth of our love for Him, which comes from His love for us.