For some reason this season has been less and less fun over the past few years. I used to think this was because I wasn’t a kid anymore, or that I wasn’t living in a place with a real winter. But no, this year I have finally decided that we have killed Christmas. It’s entirely our faults, and we should be ashamed of ourselves.
I remember, and I swear I’m not imagining this, that at one point in time there were no Christmas decorations or products in stores until after Thanksgiving. This year I saw Christmas items for sale in September. I remember a time when Christmas carols weren’t used as backing music for advertisements. I remember a time when the news wasn’t full of stories about how well the stores were doing in the Christmas shopping season. I mean, all of that was still there, but it wasn’t what it was about.
Now the only thing that this season is about is shopping. You’ve got to give people stuff. You’ve got to go out, find something that people may or may not like, wrap it up, and give it to them. And one present isn’t enough. The tree has to be full of presents. The bigger the better. And that’s all there is to it. Forget about altruism and giving and care and love and joy. It’s all about how many presents you’ve got under how big a tree.
I have too much stuff. I have too much debt. I’m tired of being told I have to buy things. I don’t want more stuff. I want a new pack for my bike and some new shirts. That’s it. And if I didn’t get them for Christmas I’d get them for myself anyway because I actually need them.
I know I’m still going to go hang my lights and trim my tree, because that’s what is done. Hopefully my own small tribute at a more appropriate time will help me to feel better. And I’ll do my best to tune out invitations to buy a Lexus for Christmas or the horrible R&B version of what used to be a lovely carol. I’ll try to steer clear of the stores and out of the maddening rush of traffic and people trying to buy, buy, buy. I’ll go to my midnight service and try to remember that what we’re supposed to be doing at this time of year is recognizing that joy is found in the most unexpected places, and that the light will return.