Friday, December 16, 2011

Christmas, 50% Off

     I read a new article this week that left me speechless, scratching my head, sad.  Blaming the economy, more and more people are “postponing Christmas” in order to take advantage of After-Christmas/New Year’s bargains.  A silent Christmas Day.  Barren, empty trees.  Cold ovens.  A day like any other.  My heart sank as I read of people using the day to catch up on e-mails and television programs. 

      Whatever happened to a collective celebration of peace, goodwill, and the best birthday on earth?

      Maybe it’s the creative genes of my DNA.  Maybe it’s because Christmas is my favorite holiday and, like Bob Cratchit, the joy of the season is in the forefront of my mind all year long.  Maybe it’s my unshakeable belief that Christmas is and always will be a birthday celebration.  Whatever the root cause, I cannot fathom the reasoning that Christmas is about gifts.  After a quick search on the Internet, I have understood the meaning of the word “gift” to be “something one person voluntarily gives to another”.  Nowhere in my search for the definition of “gift” did I see the phrase, “The true meaning of Christmas”.  Nowhere did I find that a gift is, “That which is demanded by the recipient and accepted only if the name brand, color, features, and manufacturer are deemed worthy and acceptable by said recipient.”  I don’t remember seeing any wording that a gift can be described as, “A pacifier begrudgingly shuffled to the custody of a screaming, demanding individual to avoid disappointment and possible verbal abuse”.

      It’s appalling, really.

      This year is a difficult year for a lot of people, and I am no exception.  Job loss, unrelenting bad luck, and cars I can’t wait to shove over a cliff have rendered this year one of the toughest I’ve known in a long time.  The Yankee and I have no money to shower our friends and family members with gifts as we would love to do, but I’ll be darned if I’m going to wait until January.  I’ll be darned if I’m going to look my family members in the eye and say, “Thank you for the lovely gift.  So sorry I have nothing for you.”  No.  I refuse to be that person.  I am using my brain, my creative genes, and the bits I have around the house to make sure everyone has something special. 

      Don’t misunderstand me.  I am not saying for a moment that gift giving is a shallow exercise; far from it.  I thoroughly enjoy the entire process and would miss it if it were not a part of our celebration.  I am, however, emphasizing that Christmas is not about what packages are under the tree.  It is, first and foremost, a celebration of those we love and the reasons we love them.  It is a time for us to shower our loved ones with our affection and gratitude.  If this means lovingly handmade paper dolls for little Shannon, a newspaper kite for Billy, and a cup of hot tea under the Christmas night sky with your sweetie, then so be it.  I am merely questioning what priorities we have allowed ourselves to worship when a handmade gift or a meaningful conversation is “not good enough”.  So what if your Christmas dinner is a tuna-noodle casserole?  What if the only gift you can offer your children is a day of your undivided attention?  What if the diamonds you wanted to give your wife have now been replaced by a heartfelt love letter outlining every reason you can think of why you love her?  Throw in a soft, slow dance in front of the fire and she’ll brag about you to her friends.  What if the surround sound system you wanted to give your husband is now a handmade candy from his childhood?  Bald head and crows feet or not, he’ll have that look of a happy little kid that somehow makes the winter seem a little less frozen.

      For me, Christmas is a celebration of a birthday.  It is the joyous remembrance of the greatest Gift the world has ever received.  It is a day to put aside our differences and relish the time we have with each other.  It is the opportunity to solemnly vow to improve the world around us a little bit each day.  It is a time to cherish those we still have with us and remember those who have gone on before us.  It is a sacred, holy, honorable holiday full of love and gratitude.  It is a holiday of epic, eternal significance.  

      It is Christmas.  And I defiantly refuse to wait until it goes on sale.

© Bertha Grizzly 2011.  All Rights Reserved.  No duplication or distribution.

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