Ah, Christmas. When one day the stores are crammed full of panicked shoppers and the next the streets are almost empty. That time to spend a month rushing around trying to get everything ready for those few days of perfection.
Personally, I say let each celebrate as they will. I choose to take the day to be quiet. I tend to go for a jog around the neighborhood, call the parents, and then sack out on the couch for the next eighteen hours with my cat. That is my idea of peace on earth. Some would argue that Christmas is a time for spending days with loved ones and family.
That sounds swell for others. However my job only gets crazier around holidays. Being nice to people when I have been making hundreds of drinks for the throngs is draining. If you want me to have goodwill toward men for the rest of the year, you really should leave me be on Christmas. Or else you might find out just how Grinch-like I can be.
The one thing you cannot claim is that I am a commercialist during December. I look at the unstoppable tide of delivery trucks cruising around and shake my head. There are so many parcels being carted around that UPS rents trucks from U-Haul and Budget. Even commercial deliveries, like the books that were supposed to be at my comic shop, get delayed so that the high-priority boxes get distributed. Buy buy buy, ship ship ship.
A few years ago I felt that I did not need more things. Sure, I had a few DVDs on my wish-list; but if I really wanted them I could easily purchase them myself. My apartment is not that large and my shelves are full enough as is. More is not going to make my life any better. I told my family that they did not need to buy anything. Gradually we have been buying each other less and less gifts. If we really want to get each other a trinket because it is perfect for them, then we do.
This year I received two gifts. My best friend bought me a book. A coworker bought me a t-shirt. However a few months ago I gave them both gifts on non-birthdays, so I do not feel like either party will be “slighted”.
People keep trying to give me money too. My parents, being parents, insisted on sending me money. And I, as in past years, insisted on giving it away. The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society could use the funds more than I, as could Water.org. Now I do not have to ponder how to spend that money.
Two separate entities from church tried to give me money for “all I do”. I appreciate the gesture. However I really do not think that plugging in a microphone or carrying around a set of keys is all that awe-inspiring. Thus one person’s donation goes right back in the offering plate and the other allotment of money will go to a local food bank. (If Jesus can work a loaves and fishes miracle with actual food, certainly God can work miracles with a small stack of bills.)
I still want things, do not get me wrong. But I get free entertainment at the comic shop. Going to the library once or twice a week affords me all the DVDs and books I could possibly consume. That is pretty much everything I would spend my money on. Clothes? Not interested. A new appliance? My current ones work fine. Video games? I still have Minesweeper and Scrabble, thanks.
All I really want for Christmas is calm, serene peace. If I can find a lovely gal to share the fireplace with the cat and I; well, that is a happy little bonus. But I do not need more stuff or eight different parties to attend. I am quite content to be left alone.
From a religious stance, I think Christmas is great. The message on Sunday was fine. God said, “Fear not” several times in the Christmas story. Do not fear; simple. However, the best part of the meeting was after church when we hugged, shared blessings and plans, and heartily wished each other, “Merry Christmas”. That was all the Christmas party-time that I needed.
If decorating and family and candy canes and mistletoe make you content, then great. I might vote for a little restraint of presents, but I am not going to tell you how to show expression for those you care about. I simply know what I prefer.
Regardless, I am all for the holiday. I have quoted Dickens quite a few times on the topic, and see no reason to stop now.
“There are many things from which I might have derived good, by which I have not profited, I dare say… Christmas among the rest. But I am sure I have always thought of Christmas time, when it has come round– apart from the veneration due to its sacred name and origin, if anything belonging to it can be apart from that– as a good time; a kind, forgiving, charitable, pleasant time; the only time I know of, in the long calendar of the year, when men and women seem by one consent to open their shut-up hearts freely, and to think of people below them as if they really were fellow-passengers to the grave, and not another race of creatures bound on other journeys. And therefore, uncle, though it has never put a scrap of gold or silver in my pocket, I believe it has done me good, and will do me good; and I say, God bless it!” –A Christmas Carol