Adding a natural challenge to this year’s last minute Christmas rush – mother nature blanketed us with 2 inches of ice. Power was out all across the grid -many folks burning candles and wrapped in quilts for an entire week – including Christmas day. I took this photo myself just outside the sewing shop where I picked up my own last minute gift.
I think back to the brainwashing of WW2, where Hitler became a genius at the art of brainwashing. He used anti Sematic propaganda to change the course of history. Millions of folks fell into his indoctrinated trap and history vowed to never forget. But today’s commercialism has pulled billions of us into its trap and no one seems to be complaining.
Am I the only one who thinks the insanity is growing every year. I am 49 years old, but I fondly remember my childhood days of unbridled anticipation for Christmas day. I remember sneaking downstairs to see if Santa made it. I could never really boast of being a good girl all year, and so my hopes of getting a new Barbie doll were always at risk. But even just these few 40 years ago, that one single Barbie was the whole dream. Sure there would be some nice Clementines in the stocking and maybe even a candy cane…. there was the inevitable socks and underwear…. perhaps a new pair of jeans if we were lucky….. but there was really the anticipation of that one BIG gift – please please please let it be that Barbie I have been dreaming of.
Today I hear of parents spending the college funds to get their kids that large list of gifts that will put a temporary smile on the faces of their little gems. I avoid TV most days, but I did view several commercials this year about the looming holiday bills. It might be funny if it were not true. I wonder how many of those craze filled folks at the shopping malls can actually pay the Visa bill in full when it comes in. My guess- about as many as who can carry all their gifts in one single trip. Stop it people. Turn off the commercials – teach your children the value of values – put some joy back in this joyful season.
I have come to hate Christmas. Every year there is more and more pressure to prepare for the perfect holiday season. If one more person had asked me if I was ready for Christmas, the pressure building inside my head was going to leave me picking up pieces of my brain all across this frozen County. Are you ready for Christmas? Let me put the FU back in fun! No – I am not ready for Christmas – I am never ready for Christmas and if you ask me again I will plead justifiable homicide. I finally feel ready for Christmas on the 26th when all the hype and pressure is gone. My husband said to me last night, “Only 364 more days until Christmas.” And guess what. If I started preparing for Christmas right now, I would still not feel adequately prepared for the 2014 season. The propaganda is too much. The bar is set too high. The Joy is no longer part of the season for me.
So, what to do? Do I have to just accept this commercial brainwashing? Do I allow my children to fall into the trap. Is bigger always better? Is there a road less travelled that can lead me back to some sense of normalcy? What will happen if I refuse to be a part of it all next year? Will society shun me if I refuse to buy into the hype that pulls us out to the malls in droves? Is it possible to not get caught up in the mayhem and insanity? Is there any joy left to be found in the holiday season?
I make a vow to end the insanity.
My kids will not suffer by having me spend more time with them at the cost of fewer gifts under the tree. I am going to start right now – today – to give them the best gift I can – my time. This year will be an A-OK year where we acknowledge Acts of Kindness. A-OK moments will be documented, within the family, within our community and within our world. Next year, under the tree will be a documentary of our A-OK moments – and nothing else. We will celebrate goodness rather than gifts. We will acknowledge kindness rather than foster greed. We will relax and enjoy rather than scramble and stress. We will take back the season. We will.
Elizabeth Berg wrote in The Art of Mending;
“There are random moments – tossing a salad, coming up the driveway to the house, ironing the seams flat on a quilt square, standing at the kitchen window and looking out at the delphiniums, hearing a burst of laughter from one of my children’s rooms – when I feel a wavelike rush of joy. This is my true religion: arbitrary moments of of nearly painful happiness for a life I feel privileged to lead.”