A Random Image
 

Jett Superior laid this on you on || December 8, 2000 || 4:59 pm

It appears that I am just a hokey freak. I actually like Christmas. Granted, all the frenzy that surrounds it surpassed moronic and deviant long ago, but I still relish the holiday.

Just like everyone else, I am taxed by the forced festivity and comraderie it sometimes entails. It peeves me to no end that those heretics at Wal-Mart put up the Christmas aisles just shortly after the Halloween crap got set out (I could be wrong here, but I believe last year they DID wait until the first part of November). But I still get all blissed out at the very thought of this time of year.

Maybe it’s just the way that I approach it. Or maybe it’s the way that it was handled at my house as a child. It could be any number of things.

In this age of “everything, everywhere, rightfuckingNOW” I feel like it’s important, ESPECIALLY at Christmastime, to strip things down a bit. Take a breath. Simple ‘em up. It IS supposed to be about peace and goodwill and love and light, after all. How can you foster any of those if you start out the season with those day-after-Thanksgiving readysetgoscramble sales where everyone is out for blood and will mortgage the rights on their comfort and happiness just to find the perfect decoupage pin for Aunt Trudy? I mean really, come on now….

Ther were times when I was a kid that we had one another, a tree, some family-baked goods (done together, I might add) and a stocking filled with meager geegaws and trinkets for Christmas. These were some of the best of my LIFE. Are you with me, people?

Today’s kids seem so greedy and unhappy because we make them that way collectively with our run-around-like-wild-baboons mentality and overkill in the whole gift arena. My little family is not immune. My children have no less than six sets of grandparents, not including greats, and I have been gnashing my teeth and trying to rein in the older set from minute one the first of my brood popped out. “Today’s kids have TOO MUCH”, I tell them, “I want my kids to have something to look forward to every once in a while. I want to instill in them responsibility and drive.” This has been my battle cry for 8 years now and will continue to be. It’s not perfect yet, but they have all gotten better. They look around and see all the little shiteaters that the world is producing and they get my message, especially in light of the fact that a couple of those aforementioned shiteaters belong to my siblings.

In our home, we approach the holidays with equal mixtures of science and sentiment. We always go as a family to select a tree from the Christmas tree farm. ALWAYS. My husband gets it in the stand, I string the lights, we all decorate it together. We bake. We decorate what we bake. We do it TOGETHER. It’s not easy, we all have intense schedules that require shuffling around, but we do it. It’s simply important to us.

Each year, no matter how fat or meager our own pickings are, we stuff a box for someone not as fortunate as ourselves. Food, toys, clothes. Some years the box is more extravagant than others. I want my kids to be givers. I want them to know the satisfaction of sharing what they have. It’s funny, even as young as they are, they have the innate wisdom to select things for others that they themselves would like to receive.

On Christmas Eve, we exchange ornaments. There is only one rule…the ornament has to be a reflection of the person you give it to…regarding something they like, something they are or something that reminds you of them. When my children are ready to go out and make a place of their own in the world, they will have a full set of ornaments to hang on their Christmas tree if they desire to have one. More importantly, though, they will have symbols of family unity and affection and a tangible reminder of memorable times.

Also on Christmas Eve, we like to drive around looking at the lights that various people have put up. It’s quite interesting to see the way that a person is reflected in how they choose to display. On a baser level, there are yards and yards of pretty sparkly things suspended in the night air that aren’t there any other time of the year. It’s got a magical feel, and kids simply dig magic. Our bedtime story the night before Christmas comes from the new testament. My grandfather read of the birth of Christ to us each Christmas Eve when I was small. I do the same for my children; they need to know that hope exists and faith is important. It comforts and sustains when your ass is chewed and your belly is growling and your heart is heavy and your head is panicking. How you come by or practice or profess your faith is only the minor end of the spectrum–the process is not so important as the result. What better story for Christmas could there be? There was a gift given to the WHOLE WIDE WORLD, and it wasn’t wrapped all fancy or extravagant. It was quietly and hopefully given in the face of personal adversity on the players’ parts. Mock me as simplistic and foolish if you will, but that shit bowls me the fuck over. Thus, on Christmas Eve, we bake Jesus a birthday cake. So they don’t forget. So they know that this is a party that everyone-but-EVERYONE is invited to and allowed to share in. Yeah, my kids are kids and come Christmas Day they groove on the presents, but they also know what the whole gig is about.

On Christmas Day, they get three presents apiece from us. Brainwashing through symbolism. But it works…they know. Hell, if I could afford to rent three camels and three guys dressed in kingly finery to ride up in the front yard, don’t think I wouldn’t do it.

It may be a tad early, but I would like to wish each and every one of you a happy holiday, no matter how you choose to observe it. My wish for you is that the magic is not lost upon you and the sappiness washes you away, for this year and all to come.

Merry Christmas.

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