Thursday, December 21, 2006

Who Stole Christmas?

Oops. I was gone all day yesterday on an errand I really didn't want to do--long drive for a chore that took all of half an hour followed by long return drive--so I missed Deb Smith's wonderful post yesterday. As I'm savoring it late this morning, it suddenly dawns on me--Yikes! I traded days with Lois, and I'm on TODAY!

'Tis the season, and I seem to be less organized every year. We've been talking about Christmas traditions lately, and something's been nagging at me. At the risk of sounding like a Grinch, I'm going to toss this out because, frankly, I'm hoping I'm not the only one. I've always loved Christmas. I'm a tradition junkie. But, frankly, I'm worried that the Christmas I've loved lo these many years has gone the way of so many of my fond memories--rendered obsolete by technology and the ballooning obsession with making a buck.

When I see TV pundits go into a rage over the supposed switch from "Merry Christmas" to "Happy Holidays," I can only laugh. What possible difference can it make whether the person standing by the shopping carts near the door of the local Buy Now, Buy Big Emporium says the word "Christmas"? I can't imagine that uttering the word changes what we're doing in any way. This season has been "overed on" by commercialism. I used to be quite consciencious about writing out the word "Christmas"--never "Xmas." But at this point I think Xmas fits--from November 1 until the after-Xmas sales.

Make no mistake, I'm not advocating for or against any religion or religious expression to be imposed on the general population. And I love Santa Claus. I believed fiercely until my mother sat me down and had the talk with me. I cried. She said later that she felt she had to tell me. I was 9 or 10, and my younger sibs were tired of trying to keep up the front. But back when I was a kid you didn't see a phoney Santa everywhere you turned every time you left the house. Can we stop with the bad Santas in dime store Halloween suits? Ticky-tacky beards and plastic spats for boots are hard to explain even to a two-years-old. (Albeit, a very smart 2-yr-old.)

You know what really got to me this year? The term "Black Friday." When did the day after Thanksgiving become Black Friday? And whatever happened to Thanksgiving being a holiday in its own right? In my day (okay, there it is--I'm officially old!) Christmas decorations went up in the stores sometime after Thanksgiving.

Artificial trees. Was that what did it? The first one I remember was that silver foil tree with the revolving 4-colored light back in the 60's. Ah, the 60's. Always the rub.

Okay, here's my uplifting ending. Last year at Christmas I was faced with a half-finished curio cabinet in the corner of the living room. It was a big frame with interior lighting. I filled it with snowflake ornaments suspended on filament, cover it with see-through holiday fabric and wire ribbon, and turned it into a big gift. I think you could do it with any big lighted cabinet. Just a thought.

Any thoughts on any of the above? Maybe I'm all wet. Or just...a little frosty?


Helen Brenna said...

I went through a few years where Christmas depressed me. Felt like all I was doing was running around on errands filling my kids xmas lists, hastily scribbling out cards and filling out checks for the neices and nephews. The magic was gone.

I've come to the conclusion, right or wrong, that Christmas is not unlike a mini-wedding. All the preparations, the expectations, the drama. If you don't let all that peripheral stuff go, you can't enjoy the special quiet moments.

Debra Dixon said...

I do not have a plastic snow glow in my yard. Just a quiet strand of blue lights. But that's the kind of decorating I like.

Or maybe I like it because less is...well, less is easier.

Betina Krahn said...

Kathy, I think it may be a function of age. . . and tons of experience with the holiday. The things that mean something to me, more and more, involve the people in my life and doing things together. I really like cookie decorating and tree trimming with egg nog and pot lucks and kid programs at church. What I hate, more and more, is the constant buying and then worrying that I haven't bought enough-- that someone may be disappointed. And God-forbid I should disappoint someone at Christmas!

With that in mind, I finally told some of the extended family that last year was the last for gifts. . . should have taken a clue earlier, since they stopped buying before I did. And I've decided that my grands (who are little so this is still an easy decision to make) will get one present each and a contribution to the college fund.

And by next Christmas I want to arrange to spend more time with my kids and grands, doing things together and making memories.

:) Betina