How’s your holiday season going so far? Gee, it’s only the first week in December. Since I noticed decorations on display at the craft store when I was looking for Halloween paraphernalia, it feels like December 25 should be, like, next week. But it’s the next FOUR weeks, actually.
I’m not a big fan of Christmas. First, my family does not celebrate any religious aspect of this time of year (or any time of year). So, I don’t warm up to people preaching “Jesus is the Reason for the Season”. Nice rhyme but the tilt of the earth’s axis is the reason for the seasons. Too bad that doesn’t sound as catchy. Just because you don’t like it doesn’t make it any less true.
Holiday time is frequently a trigger for bad memories: people miss lost loved ones, they remember disappointments or tragedies, or they sadly realize that they can’t share any joy with someone because they are alone. It’s highly insensitive to push a happy, joyful message to these folks and call them Scrooges or Grinches when they fail to join the festivities.
Xmas time for me is full of anxiety. With divorced parents on my side and various relatives spread out in the state, I worry about getting in the required visitations. I have to cart along two small children and a dog. They don’t. I have to work pretty hard to figure out appropriate gifts for those who have what they need. They don’t. When in doubt, they just hand out cash. They can send out cards and greetings. I don’t have time.
This year, I’m quite the “Grinch”. I don’t have any enthusiasm for putting up the tree. I don’t feel motivated to light up the house or festoon the interior. I might make cookies this year because the kids like that and they make thoughtful gifts. But, generally, I do not embrace the consumer excess and overexertion that goes with the holiday preparation.
I heard that among the common toy requests in children’s letters to Santa are the wishes for parents to come home from Iraq or Afghanistan, for everyone to get along (at home and in the world), and for snow to fall. How simple are those wishes. I wish the same. I want all those soldiers home from a senseless war. I want us to stop fighting abroad and at home about faith and what it means to be a good person. I wouldn’t mind a dusting of snow to make everything clean, quiet and a pretty background for the twinkling lights.