Is it really "the most wonderful time of the year"?
I'm not the Grinch but I'm tired of the whole Christmas thing. Maybe you are too. Let me explain what I mean.
It's relentless and it makes us feel pressured.
Just after Hallowe'en, October 31st when you go into the stores, the items have made their way back onto the shelves. As a good friend calls it, "the Christmas crap" is back. Every time you go to get what you need in the store, there it is. It is hard to ignore all the toys and giftable items. And if you are a television watcher, the pressure is quite tremendous. The children know which toys are the latest and the best and they want to go see them. It is pressure to buy and buy and buy. And the corporations are waiting in the wings to see how much money will fly out of our collective pockets and into their already bursting vaults.
Few of us are immune.
I must have antibodies against this kind of pressure because the effect it has on me is to keep me out of the stores. For me the season always has begun after the end of November not after Halloween. Anything more is overkill.
For some it is a tradition which can not change.
But that is not accurate. I understand the religious significance, at least the Christian religious significance of the holiday. I have no particular quarrel with it but that is not an excuse for the commercial excesses of today. Actually, it is an argument against it.
Christmas tradition has in fact been changing
But just like a frog in a pot of water that has been slowly brought to a boil, we haven't noticed the changes. For example it was only in the 19th century that we began to send Christmas cards. And althought Saint Nickolas did exist and gave a gift or some coal to children he certainly did not give as many gifts as our children expect. Santa Claus was brought in by Coca Cola in the early part of last century. Since then the corporations have been picking our pockets and pressuring us to spend our money by raising everyone's expectations of how many gifts they should get. It's another form of conformity and if you don't partake of the holiday, you are looked at askance.
It has become a source of stress and financial pressure
Every year there is a new this and a new that. Pink and purple Christmas trees? Anything to entice you to not just drag out the old fake tree. You should buy a new one or go kill a new one, or buy one that someone else has killed for you and put the decorations on. And of course, if you get the tree, you need some new decorations!
Then there are the lights, inside, outside, on the tree - you can just hear the people at the Hydro office rubbing their hands in glee at the the increase in revenue.
Then you have to run around spending money on gifts, many of which are useless to the people you are giving them to and buy paper to wrap them with. You need to live up to other people's expectations of what their gifts should be. Never mind the payments in January. Then there are the parties and other fiorced appearances and family visits.
Is any of this really honest?
None of these things are wrong in themselves. What I am done with is the lack of meaning and genuineness in it all. If it is truly meaninful for you - carry on and more power to you! But for myself (and I do not believe I am alone) I would rather spend some quality time with people who are meaningful to me and if we feel the need to exchange gifts, I would rather exchange home made gifts. I guess I'd like to see a return to basics. Just enjoying each other's company without such lofty expectations and traditions. But most of all let's send a message to the corproations that we are tired of being exploited.
Stand up to being manipulated!
How is it that we have been pushed, pulled or dragged to this position? It is really not to benefit anyone except the corporations. It is not added value for us, the individuals. So maybe it is time to stand up and say "No, thanks!" and take back your power. I think it's time for people to decide for themselves when they celebrate, with whom, and how. And if they exchange gifts to show that they value each other perhaps those gifts should reflect the person giving the gift rather than some corporation. Will that affect the economy? Yes. But that is another blogpost.
Solstice - the darkness and the light
The date for the celebration of what we know as Christmas is the 25th. The date was the same as the celebration of the Roman festival of Saturnalia, which was a Solstice festival. The Solstice, December 21st, is the day with the least amount of daylight hours. After the 21st daylight hours begin to increase, slowly but surely. A cause for celebration indeed! Celebrating the coming of the light - that's something I can see as important. If you celebrate for another reason - I wish you a happy holiday and good celebrations. Just know why you are celebrating and why you have invested your time, energy and money into your celebrations. That's all.