Ah yes, it’s that time of year again – “the holidays”. I know some, (most?) of you are probably getting excited for the season, and may call me a curmudgeon, but the whole thing makes me cringe and want to leave the country. Oh, I am not immune to warm, fuzzy feelings when I hear certain Christmas songs, and I love a good party as much as anyone, but…
First, there is the unfortunate confluence of holiday “sale” ads with the election season barrage (a great reason to watch nothing but PBS for the next two months!) I mean REALLY, can anyone explain to me what value campaign ads offer society? What do we “learn” about candidates from thirty nauseating seconds of mud slinging? In my humble opinion, our country would be much better off if campaigning via attack ads was not allowed. (I believe there are other countries where that is the case?)
Second, I’ve never been able to figure out how launching the entire country into a two-month-long shopping frenzy honors the birth of Christ, a man who preached compassion and caring for the poor. Wouldn’t it make more sense if the season was all about feeding the hungry? Helping at a local shelter? Or taking a trip to a third world country and volunteering in an orphanage? Just think what a great family bonding experience that would be!
I’m not sure how I came to be so annoyed by all of this. My childhood memories are good – I was an only child, and any relatives were across the country or in Europe, but my tiny family of three celebrated Christmas with a meaningful combination of European and American traditions. Mama & I baked German cookies, Papa strung colored lights on the house, I collected toys & food for poor families, friends stopped by for music, a chat and cocktails – it was all very relaxed. When I was 19, my father died of a heart attack while skiing, and Christmas became painful. I moved to Tahoe, and was happy to work the holidays.
As I got older, and watched my friends stressing out over shopping lists, and later my husband running himself ragged in the malls on Christmas Eve, I started wondering what is the point of this craziness? I am still wondering.
So, each year, as the holiday season sets in, I have an overwhelming desire to get on a plane heading East, far east, as in Asia, where Christmas is a foreign affair.
Unfortunately, or fortunately I guess, both David and I are way too busy to escape this year, so I’ll be here, with my fingers in my ears, chanting “la, la, la, la, la, I can’t heeear you” to all of the commercial noise. (I may also be caught singing along to my favorite carol, Adeste Fideles)
What do you think, has the commercialism and frenzy gotten worse over the last 20 years, or am I just a Scrooge?
Bah humbug, next year, we are off to parts unknown! 😉