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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Spreading Holiday Cheer…NOT

If you love everything Christmas, this might not be a post you want to read. I understand, if you just click away from here while I have my vent.

*Disclaimer…if you are still here reading, keep in mind, that these are just my personal feelings. I do NOT think I am better than those of you that love Christmas.

Christmas is my least favorite time of year. Before anyone wigs out on me about not liking all these holidays, let me just make it clear that it’s not that I don’t celebrate the birth of Christ. I do. It doesn’t mean that I am against having fun & celebrating. It doesn’t mean that I am against gift giving and all things red, green and white.

It just happens that Christmas red & green are my least favorite colors and I don’t really care for most Christmas music and I like Christmas sweaters even less. I actually don’t like a lot of the Christmas baked goods but I like enough of the other stuff to make me not like the extra pounds.

And I could say it’s because I have a hard time, with my children and grandchildren being far away and not able to come home. Bottom line is, I miss them and there is no way around it.

But, it’s really not these things that make me not like it.

What it comes down to is this…I don’t like the commercialism that rules from October until January. Even before Halloween, Christmas decorations are out. The commercials on TV are pushing to buy, buy, buy!!!! I heard Christmas music playing in Walmart before Halloween for goodness sakes. Are you flippin kidding me? We ran into the mall a couple of weeks before Thanksgiving and already the mall Santa and Mrs. Clause had a long line of children waiting to see them. Thanksgiving barely gets recognized, and we are blasted into red, green and white.

I don’t like this big fat crazy whirlwind of commercialism. The pressure on the stores to sell. The push to buy. The bigger the better. The pressure to spend money we don’t really have or money we should be saving. Pressure we put on ourselves or let others put on us. The push for all of this to come earlier and earlier. It used to be that Santa didn’t come out until after Thanksgiving.  The focus used to be on family and friends and each person getting a gift or two.

Not anymore.

I want. I want. I want. I want. I want. The selfishness that is bred to want more and more…and bigger…to expect more and more and bigger.

Where does it stop? 

I know I sound like a poop on the fun parade. I know it’s fun to give. Hell, I love to give presents, so it’s not about that. The thing is, most of us that are going to be getting gifts already have too much stuff already.Most of us, will buy things for those that already have too much stuff.  

Christmas is suppose to be about “peace and goodwill towards men” and about joy and caring and spreading the holiday cheer.

For many of us, it’s suppose to be celebrating the birth of Christ.

When I am out and about in the stores, I don’t see the spreading of peace and goodwill towards men. I don’t see all that much joy. And I certainly don’t see a whole lot of holiday cheer being spread.  I surely don’t see Christ in the pushing and shoving.

Instead, I see sadness. I see confusion. I see rudeness. I see meanness.  I see anger. I see lots and lots of selfishness. I see people pushing each other and hear of people getting hurt, fighting over a toy or some sale item. I see a lot of overwhelmed people that  don’t want to be there, spending money they don’t really have but don’t have a clue how to step off this crazy train.

I personally think, this must make Jesus sad.

While shopping for household things the other day, I over heard a woman scream humiliations at her husband. I listened to people talk loud and rudely on their cell phones. I witnessed parents trying to get out of control kids to behave. I watched an elderly couple get pushed out of line.  The worst was over hearing  a younger mom tell her friend that they wouldn’t be having Christmas because they have no money. Hearing the defeat and sadness in her voice broke my heart. I watch all these things while listening to Christmas music playing in the background.

And yes, I think this make Jesus sad.

It is hard for me to get into the spirit of Christmas joy when I see so much sadness and brokenness around me.

I know those that barely make it without the added expense of buying presents. I know those going without and I know their desperate prayers for these holidays to pass quickly so that it will be all over. These people know that they will have disappointed children come Christmas morning. And then there are those that have completely given up.

I know those that are physically sick and hurting and are feeling so discouraged that they are wanting to give up living. I know someone that is in fear of losing her business because she has been out of work, hurt, due to a car accident. She fears losing her livelihood. 

I know someone going through a divorce from the love of her life of over 14 years because he left her for a girlfriend. Who now has to work 2 jobs in order to keep her house and feed her 2 sons. The only reason they have a tree is because they already had one. She cannot buy any gifts and she feels horrible about this.

I know someone that lost her father a couple of months ago and her grief is overwhelming.

I know 3 people that have lost their long time family pets and are grieving  their loss and now one more that has a dog with cancer and cannot afford to do everything needed for her.

I know people that have lost jobs and can’t find another. I know people that are losing their homes because they can’t afford them due to divorce, a job loss or their health.

I know people that are lonely and suffering from depression and they just want to talk.

Such sadness. And this is just the people I know. I know there are so many others, even worse off. It’s hard to be joyful about Christmas when all of this surrounds me.

It’s hard to be happy about a birthday party when everyone’s not invited.

In trying to not let all of this get to me and take away all that is good…because believe me, there is good out there too….I am focusing on what I can do right now, with what I have.

I want our little people to grow up learning about the true meaning of Christmas but I don’t want them growing up with a total scrooge for a mom either.

In order to have balance and create some peace and joy during this season, I am vowing to avoid the stores as much as possible…to not spend money we really don’t have…to pray more and complain about Christmas less…to focus on what we do have instead of on what we don’t have… to do as many “acts” of kindness as possible…and to notice these acts from others.

I want us to have fun but not at the expense of someone else. I want the little ones to know the joy of giving. I want their memories to be of fun family times…whether it be decorating the tree and sitting in the dark looking at the lights lit up, or talking about Jesus' birthday and Santa, … turning on the lights outside each night…watching Christmas programs while cuddling together…going for a drive and eating popcorn while looking at the lights at night…making cookies and special crafts…playing in the snow…and playing secret Santa to someone in need…and yes, even singing Christmas songs with the little people…lol.

I am trying not be like him…


Or him…


Really I’m not!!!!


Love & Hugs, Lori



mommytoalot said...

thanks for sharing your true feelings. I myself have mixed feelings about Christmas. I do love it. I love the music..(sorry dear)...the decorations..the happy's also a very sad day for us. My dad passed away Christmas morning..('s been almost 21 yrs..but you dont' forget)
Also my family ..ohhh my family..they are not like me..
No one wants to come have dinner..oh they too busy..wait they do.." I deal with that every single year. All I want is to be surrounded by those I love..yet no one can decide what they are doing. I also hate the money being spent..that's terribly stressful..since we don't have that much extra.
Jesus is the reason for the season..try getting that point across to crazed teenagers.
now i'm more stressed.
great post

Jeannie said...

I have enjoyed Christmas less and less over the years for many of the reasons you listed. I think it's become less fun since the Cabbage Patch dolls - and we didn't have anyone then who even wanted one.

Frankly, marketing hype - the bossy, arrogant "You must own this or be a stupid, unattractive, "poor" (as if that's an insult) schlump forever - annoys the hell out of me all year and that feeling is multiplied at Christmas. I avoid stores and malls all year. I visit one mall for one day for Christmas shopping. That's all I can stand. Our kids could never expect whatever toy had created a craze that year. Since our oldest didn't believe in Santa from the age of four and made sure no one else did, we didn't have to pretend he'd give them whatever their little hearts desired. We still gave gifts from Santa and still do but it's just in fun. I found it was actually better for them to know that all gifts ultimately come from God. In fact, my husband always labelled a few gifts from Jesus.

Jan said...

I'm so glad I didn't go with red and green for my holiday blog design. LOL

Seriously though, I don't think you're being a Scrooge at all. The holiday season is supposed to be a happy, joyous time and for many people it isn't, and mainly for the reasons you originally stated: there's so much commercialization and pressure for it all to be "perfect." And, as you stated, some tinsel and bows don't automatically put all of our troubles and woes on hold for six weeks (or however long they're stretching it all out these days).

I think your solution of how to handle it with the Little People is lovely, and I truly hope you, your husband, your children and grandchildren and Little People have a marvelous holiday season.


Brian Miller said...

you highlight a lot of what we hav done to make christmas into something that smells a lot like stockings burning by the fire...smiles. this year we are making some gifts together as a family instead of spending...i think it does a little to bring back what it reallyshould be.. hope you have a great day!

Busy Bee Suz said...

The commercialisim is out of control. People seem to have forgotten the reason for the money is needed to celebrate the Birth of Christ. Not a penny.

ps. I hate Christmas sweaters too!!!

Hilary said...

It's not just the season so much as the sense of entitlement that so many seem to have these days. The season only serves to amplify that. You've summed up the personal "cure" in your last paragraph. Gifts of charitable donations instead of satisfying the "gimmies" will also go a long way to instill the right feelings in these kidlets.

Anonymous said...

Most of the negativity and selfishness goes on year round. It's just magnified during the holidays because more people are out shopping. Our family does not act that way and our grandchildren have been taught that when they receive a gift they also give something up to those more needy from their closets and toy boxes.

I did our shopping all online this Season... that way I'm not subjected to all the negativity at the malls.

Cheer up!
The Blue Ridge Gal

Kit Kat said...

Lori, I totally understand your frustration with the consumerism of Christmas. I hate it too! My friend, Leah, who works at Toys R Us, actually saw someone get punched for cutting in line! I can't believe how crazy people get.
As for people who don't have the money to buy their children gifts, or not wanting to turn you kids into little "I want, I want" machines,
what I remember from Christmases as a child are not the gifts that I got. I remember my mom, reading stories to me in front of the christmas tree with all the lights, and counting cars that drove by to see the lights, and setting up the tree with my dad, and decorating it (the homemade ornaments were my favorite!) with my mom while listening and singing along to christmas music. I also remember the dinner, making it and eating with my family, and playing a game with them after. I remember having the opportunity to spend time and have fun with my family, not the gifts they gave me. That is what really sticks out to a kid.

Anonymous said...

Two comments you made have really settled in my heart. "This must make Jesus sad." and "It's hard to be excited about a birthday party when everyone's not invited." or something like that. What wise words. I am feeling the pressure and the sadness all around me and am looking for ways to make others Christmas brighter. Thanks for reminding me.

Riahli said...

Love this post, I wrote about the same sort of thing last year, I feel strongly about this. I try really hard to keep the greedy give me, give me's out of our house. I want my children to enjoy the good stuff of celebrating Jesus's birthday (as we do in our house) and I want them to have fun and build memories, but I don't want them to get it into their heads that Christmas is about how much Stuff you can get, more stuff that we usually truly don't need. I am going much more practical this year in the gifts and keeping it to a minimum, just like always. I strongly feel that it is the cozy family moments memories that you mentioned that last...the gifts are often long forgotten.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Eventually I'll get into the holiday spirit but it doesn't have anything to do with gift-giving or the commercialism. It'll sneak up on me when I least expect it-- Maybe even a day or two after, but eventually I get happy-- all be in without green and red.

Sorry you can't be with your family. Mine is far away too.


otin said...

I do not like the commercialism and the holiday means nothing to me spiritually, but I used to like the time of the year. It was really festive. Now it is just frantic!

Bogey said...

Hmmm! Hmmm! I'm sure I fit into one of those category's somewhere. And yes, perhaps I am not as gung ho about Christmas as in years past but there are certain things that happen to me that re-ignite that festive spirit in me. Right now, I just can't tell you what it is. I do agree with you whole heartedly that commercialism has indeed ruined Christmas and it is up to us to haul it back in and treat the season the way it was meant to be. Christmas should be kept simple so that the smiles you see on that day come from the size of your heart not the size of the bow.

Natalie said...

I am with you all the way, Lori.

I am dreading the whole thing to be honest.

I have made a committment to show the children the 'other way' of experiencing Christmas. Like you said, there is plenty to experience that doesn't involve the shops!xx♥

Anonymous said...

I don't like the pressure and commercialism associated with Christmas either. These days it's become much more stressful. But I do have wonderful memories of the holidays as a child and also when my children were younger. This year, I can not afford gifts for everyone, I can not afford a big Christmas tree, and I can not afford a special holiday dinner. It's definitely different. But it's okay because I realize that Christmas isn't about ME anyway, it's about JESUS. I'm still going to celebrate... with beautiful memories and hope for those I love. I am so thankful for the meaning of Christmas... "unto us a Savior is born..."
Yes, Jesus is sad because many people don't think about the real meaning of Christmas.
Thank you for the post, you made many good, and true, points.
Blessings, Roxy

Life with Kaishon said...

I see all of the sadness around me also. And the despair and hopelessness. And Then I remember that Jesus is the reason we celebrate. And Jesus LOVES the lonely. And the hurting. And the poor.

I am sorry you are so far from the ones you love. I can't imagine how difficult that is. I am so glad you have 2 littles you love and 1 husband you love close beside you : )

Lisa E said...

Lori, I agree with what you have written. I dislike malls. I dislike that people seem so frazzled and angry while out shopping. I thought the idea of holiday time with family should bring joy, including finding what they think is the perfect gift. This year feels different for me, in ways that I can't put my finger on directly. There is so much going on in our world and our backyards.
I wish for us all peace.

kanishk said...

I think it's become less fun since the Cabbage Patch dolls - and we didn't have anyone then who even wanted one.

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