Saturday, November 27, 2010
Joy 61/82 (Revised): Quitting Christmas ... sort of!
I woke up last night with the refrain of "You're a mean one, Mr. Grinch" playing through my head. I love the Grinch and I actually love the holiday season ... the lights ... the general festive feeling ... the impulse of generosity and abundance ... the bright colored paper and bows ... the focus on family and friendship ... even the sounds of the Salvation Army bells.
So what is it that made me decide to "quit Christmas?" At first I just thought it was the crass commercialism of Black Friday or Cyber Monday. But, after thinking about it for some time, it seems to be the expectations. We're expected to buy presents, send out cards, decorate a tree, bake cookies, attend parties, eat and drink too much, and, in general, "do" too much. My heart goes out to working mothers who have the expectations of the holidays added to an already overloaded schedule.
I think I'm in a delayed form of "teenage rebellion." Now that I don't *have* to do anything, I'm rebelling against any form of expectation. Fortunately, no one else is depending on my acting like a rational adult so I'm going to indulge my whims. I'm going to enjoy the parts of the season that I truly love and ignore the rest. Carols - yes. Presents - no. Cards and "Christmas Letters" - no. Long phone chats with people I love - yes. Extra contributions to my favorite organizations - yes. Adding to the glut of stuff for the grandkids - no.
So happy holidays to all whether you celebrate Christmas, Hannukah, Kwanzaa, Al Hijra, Ashura, Yuletide or simply life in general!
About the image: Every weekend after thanksgiving, my friend Emily converts her art studio into a gingerbread making extravaganza. Friends and family gather to decorate gingerbread houses, talk and just enjoy being together. Inevitably it turns into a frosting fight but adults have been warned that this is a day for children and that "anything goes." Children run wild and eventually their joy infects the adults and almost everyone winds up wearing a little bit of extra frosting in their hair or on their noses. This is the true spirit of the holiday season.