Friday, December 19, 2008

The Meaning of Christmas?

It's less than a week before Christmas, and I don't care. Not in that depressed way that people don't-care-because-they-might-as-well-be-dead-because-it-doesn't-matter-anyway. I don't care because...well...I don't have to. Our kids are grown. We have no money. The kids have no money. So instead we've decided to have a nice family holiday with good food...sort of Thanksgiving, Part Two.

It feels tremendously liberating. I'm not a Christmas person anyway...I'm an Atheist, so the Jesus part doesn't speak to me. I hate shopping, so the consumerism just pisses me off. Oh...and I loathe Christmas music. The only part of it I really like is the food and family, decorations with twinkly lights, and the smell of pine trees and a roast cooking.

I've been talking with friends and coworkers, and there seems to be a consensus brewing that Christmas isn't fun anymore. I don't know if it was ever fun for adults, really. Did our parents stress about the money too? I remember going to Chicago with my mother to see the Christmas display in the window of Marshall Field, but I don't remember the money part. I wonder if my parents put their heads together and tried to decide which bills to put off or which credit cards to max out in order to buy us Six Finger cap pistols and Easy Bake ovens.

My childhood family managed to fuck up holidays in much the same way we managed to fuck up every other event, so this is yet another place where I have only the vaguest idea of what "normal" people do. And I'm somewhat suspicious about the existence of normal people anyway. Who are the mythic functional families that provide the counterpoint to our dysfunctional ones? No one I know. Maybe there's an undiscovered pocket of emotionally healthy people who can enjoy their holidays without angst...I'd like to meet them. Maybe sit at their feet and learn their secrets.

So this year we get to have the parts I like without the parts I don't like. That'll make me happy, but I worry a little a little about everyone else. It's one thing to say we want our Christmas to look like this, but another thing to actually live it. I've had 45 years to hone my dislike of Christmas to a razor's edge. I sort of understand that the rest of the world may not feel like I do about it. I love my family more than anything in the world, so...I worry. A little.

9 comments:

Cedar said...

There are no friggin Normal people and as soon as everyone embraces their own personal insanity the better off everyone will be.

Is there a month available for that? "Embrace your own Personal Insanity Month". In the Gay community we call it JUNE.

marl said...

my family fucked up christmas as well...it's a wonder than any of us has grown up to be reasonably well-adjusted.

i'm so not in the mood for christmas this year. we haven't put up any decorations, haven't bought the tree, and haven't decided on what to have for dinner on thursday.

it's snowing now, will snow again on sunday, and again probably wednesday. yippee.

Kwach said...

Christmas was always my favorite holiday, but I know Ev hates it, so one of my goals in this relationship was to de-stressy-ify Christmas. It makes me happy that we've accomplished that goal and Ev's finally going to get to have one she can really enjoy ... and we did it in just under five years!


:)

Anonymous said...

I think your plan is the sanest and most normal thing I've heard in a long time!

Jessie

XUP said...

I love your just getting together and eating and drinking idea. I keep striving for that, but it never seems to work out. People feel obligated to include gifts and decorations. I'll be thinking of your Christmas longingly as I endure a week of frivolity in the bosom of my loved oned

XUP said...

loved ONES...

maynechik said...

"The only part of it I really like is the food and family, decorations with twinkly lights, and the smell of pine trees and a roast cooking." Sounds like the best Christmas, ever. What else matters?

Kwach said...

Honestly, the whole gifting part of Christmas is so ridiculously out of hand I can't even comprehend it anymore. I know it started in the Victorian era, but I don't know how it got to where it's at now. The beauty of Christmas at our house this year is that it coincides nicely with all of our kids becoming adult-aged people at roughly the same time ... and all of us being broke through no fault of our own in this awful economy. You can't do what you can't do, so it makes not doing what you don't really want to do easier. Everyone around here is relieved that the gift-giving pressure and performance anxiety is off them this year, and that makes it more palatable to voluntarily stop doing it in the future.

Jazz said...

I'm with you. The Jesus part doesn't appeal to my atheist side, and the consumerism annoys the fuck out of me. This year we're avoiding both families and running off to CA for a week. It's our gift to ourselves. Warmth and no families.