Christmas, but not really...

I don't know why Christmas is such a weird time for me.

1-My family has never celebrated Christmas very well, really we've never celebrated anything very well, and I don't really know why. I'm also guilty of this on a personal level- again, no insight as to why. I know it's a problem, but I can't even begin to put my finger on it. When I try, it feels like shadowboxing.

2-The commercialization of Christmas is becoming almost as overwhelming as the media scrutinization of the fact that Chistmas is commercialized. No one ever gets that upset about it, but it just becomes a dull pain after a while, like a nose that's been broken for a couple of years. You just work around it until, after a couple of years later, it just seems like normal. I don't really know how to fix it at all, maybe something like the end of Fight Club where they rid the world of credit reports, but I think that might be like swatting a fly with a shotgun.

3-On top of everything else, I never know what to ask for when people inquire of my Christmas list. It feels so played out: I tell you what I want, then you do the same, then depending on which syndrome you suffer from, you play mind games with yourself wondering if what you got the person was the best gift you could have possibly given them given your economic, social, and political standing in your respective circles of influence. Look how long that took me just to type it out. I need a nap.

I know and love really great people who absolutely can't get enough of Christmas. They want to start the day after Halloween and want to floor it the whole way through. And even though I don't understand what goes through these people's minds, I love watching them get excited. It feels like I'm visiting another country where they're celebrating a foreign holiday. I don't get it at all, and probably never will, but their excitement is universally understood. They don't appear jaded like me, they're happy despite the decadence of gifts and tax write-offs.

But I think my solution is found (does this qualify as a Christmas miracle?!): It seems like when I watch movies about Scrooges (I think this is my category, although the overt hatred should be taken down a notch), they always seem to have a change of heart and make this great Christmas wish in the end. So here it is, my way out of Scrooge-dom, my Christmas wish:

I wish that I could spend three hours over dinner with someone just talking about life with them. Whatever they wanted to talk about, we talked about. And, since it's a wish, in the end everyone would somehow know that God was there, talking with us the whole time. It seems like getting people presents doesn't really spread anything except the wealth with Wal-Mart, Target, Home Depot, and every other sponsor of our national tragedy of a holiday. This wish seems like something I could give that would actually qualify as a gift and still bring real joy to another person.

What a Christmas miracle that would be: celebrating Christmas without buying a thing.

By the way, I can't say "Christmas miracle" without thinking of it with a British accent. "Eet's ah Krees-mhs Mee-wee-coo!" Just sound it out, think British, and you'll laugh in five minutes.

2 comments:

Kent said...

I'm sorry that this best time of the year for you is spent thinking 'why?'. Don't. You know I'm straight-forward about a lot, and this is no exception. Don't get caught up in the how's and why's of how Christmas works, and how people react. Just enjoy the season and the real spirit of Christmas -- the birth of our Savior into this world! We give gifts to each other as the magi gave gifts to the new-born King back in the day. That's it. Commercialism, schmercialism. Screw them. You know what Christmas is about, so enjoy and relish in that celebration. You don't think the family celebrates it right? Suggest something instead of not liking it.
Just a suggestion -- Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Nelson said...

I'm sure Joseph, Mary, baby Jesus, the shepherds, and wise men had to put up with commercialism around that same time, too.

Think about it: there's a census and all the hotels are booked up. I bet there were thousands of merchants flying papyrus flyers about sacrificial offering sales (Buy 2 doves, get 1 free). Besides, the wise men probably had to go buy those gifts somewhere.