Thursday, November 5, 2009

Christmas Mania

I opened my newspaper Monday morning to see an article about how to survive the holiday crush and stress. Eeek. This makes me really mad. We've been enjoying our holidays for years without stress and angst. Let me tell you a secret. You don't have to act like a typical American, buying everything in sight. Your children will still love you if you don't give them the latest electronic device, toy, or trip to Hawaii. Your friends will still be your friends even if you don't send out Christmas cards.

Here's our strategy for really loving our holidays.

First, we celebrate the holiday that is here now. We don't worry about Christmas when Halloween just ended. We think about Thanksgiving in November. It's one of our favorite family holidays. I suspect this has something to do with the fact that it is relatively non-commercialized. We make a big dinner and sit around with our loved ones chatting and playing games. Wow. Profound, huh? We have a great time.

Second, we don't go to every Christmas party we're invited to. Maybe one or two. Low key. Show up, eat, drink, be merry. Go home before midnight. Having fun, but not overindulging.

Third, I stopped sending out Christmas cards years ago. I do send out an annual update about our family and our lives. I do this when the mood strikes. Sometimes it's my birthday, sometimes Easter, sometimes Groundhogs Day. It depends. I like it this way. I do it when I want, and my friends get mail in the middle of the year. Radical.

Fourth, we decided years ago to put up our Christmas tree on Christmas Eve, not before. I never realized how much stress it created for me having a tree inside the house all month. We live in a pretty small house, and a tree takes up a lot of room. Now, part of our lovely Christmas Eve is putting up our tree and decorating it. It makes for a very festive Christmas Eve. And we take it down at Epiphany. Perfect. 12 days.

Fifth, we try not to be extravagant about gifts. If one person gets something really big and special, that doesn't mean everyone does. We try to give things we know that person will just love. I hate receiving gifts that are obviously something the person just bought the day before because they were desperate and needed something. I'd rather get nothing. Yes, you heard me. Nothing. I like homemade gifts. Books. Etc.

I truly think why we enjoy our holidays so much and so simply is that we observe them in due time. We don't ignore the joy of after-Thanksgiving glow by shopping our brains out on Black Friday. We are still thanks-giving. We don't spend all of December in a frantic rush of purchasing an entire city block of stuff. We like music, and movies, and simple things, and that's what we do.

I could go on and on about America's obsession with buy, buy, buy. It's sickening. So take the first step. DO NOT SHOP on Black Friday. Don't. Do. It. See how freeing it is to snub the corporate retail establishment. What fun. If you want, come over to my house for some hot cider and pumpkin pie instead. We'll probably have a rousing game of Apples to Apples going.


1 comment:

  1. Are you practicing Bennet's voice in your blog posts? Or do you just have a sudden obsession with conversational writing and sentences that aren't really sentences? I'm not trying to be mean, I'm just making fun of you. And I'm still in my anti-teenager mood.