Sunday, December 13, 2009

Half a Scrooge

I feel like half a Scrooge. I love the Christmas season but, for a whole bunch of reasons, I hate the Christmas shopping. Let me count the ways.
  • I resent the way we equate gifts with love, as if the best or only way to demonstrate how important others are to us is by gifting them objects.
  • I particularly resent how this meme is generated and maintained by the manufacturers and retailers who make money off this distortion. Seriously, who believes that an engagement ring should cost two months salary, zhu zhus mean that daddy and mommy love you, and a flat screen TV means you really know me?
  • I hate the thought that someone is diving into the over-commercialized consumer quagmire on my behalf just because it is December. Especially since the shopping and gift giving have almost nothing in common with the religious holiday that’s been hijacked to justify it.
  • I dislike shopping in general. When I go, I know what I want and I buy it. Or I’m keeping someone company. As for window shopping – or, as I like to call it, “visiting things” – I have about a thirty minute tolerance for this. Then my friends will tell you: I’m sitting in the mall or seeking out a coffee house. All that stuff that we can buy does less and less for me every year. It brings no joy.
  • I am breathless, and not in a good way but in a panic attack way, at all the stuff we buy and the thought of where we will put it, what we will do with the stuff from last year and how all of this can be environmentally sustainable.
  • I hate the way we waste our energy chasing the myth that we owe each other things, and in the process miss out on the time we could spend with each other enjoying the moment.
Most of all, I hate how the shopping and gift giving displaces the parts of Christmas that bring me the most joy. To show the non-Scrooge half of me, let me count those too.
  • I love Christmas lights, even the ones that are over the top. Yes, I know someone bought them, and I know they burn energy, and I hear there’s an aura of competition around them. But I like to look at them.
  • I love being in public places around people at Christmas: a coffee house, a restaurant, a busy city street, the entrance to a downtown department store near the bell-ringer, a dog park, a ski slope. And I don’t even ski. But I love seeing people, relaxed and happy and enjoying each other, around Christmas.
  • I love my stupid 14-year old artificial Christmas tree with its 25 years of accumulated ornaments. Every year I put it in the same place, and pretty much put the ornaments on the same way. And then I turn out the lights and I take it in. It’s beautiful.
  • I love being with my family and friends at Christmas: Making a brunch of pancakes or waffles or French toast on Christmas Eve morning and Christmas morning, going to church with my parents on Christmas Eve, wrapping presents for other people, meeting for breakfast or lunch or drinks, sharing Christmas Eve with one set of friends and Christmas Dinner with another.
  • I love the weather around Christmas, because the snow is still a novelty and 25 degrees Fahrenheit is the second best temperature (after 70 degrees). It’s the best temperature for taking a long walk.
All I want for Christmas is more of the stuff I love about Christmas and less of what I don’t. Oh, and to not be told that my attitude, were it widespread, would cripple the economy.

1 comment:

Ryan said...

Relax Aunt Sue. I have to admit, I did not get you anything for Christmas. In fact, I did not get anybody, anything for Christmas. But I would be more than happy to drive you around to enjoy the Christmas lights (I like them as well!) and maybe grab a cup of joe. Merry Christmas!!