Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Top 5 Christmas Gripes of All Time

I'm seriously considering giving up on Christmas. Not Advent. I like the waiting, the preparing, the expectation that the light is coming back, that the darkest night of the year is over. But, I'm worn out from all the Christmas crap. In the spirit of the movie, High Fidelity, here are my top 5 Christmas gripes of all time:

1. The ubiquitous commercialism that implores me to buy, buy, buy my and my family's way to sublime happiness and cheer. If I get one more Kohl's flyer shouting that ALL KITSCH IS 50 OFF...TODAY ONLY...AGAIN, I'm going to puke red and green at the front of their store on Christmas Eve.
2. The mind-wracking searching for the perfect gift-that's-in-my-small-budget-for people-who-can-afford-to-buy-what-they-want-anyway. Seriously, are there any surprises after 16? Do you know anybody in your circle of family or friends who actually NEEDS something? Nine times out of ten, I fret about a gift and the person already owns the stupid thing.
3. Stepping around people's religious or atheistic/agnostic mine fields. I am way weary of sorting (in my already DEFCON 5 brain) to whom I should be wishing Merry Christmas or just Happy Holidays. Will this person think I'm a religious nutball if I mention the peace of Christ? Will that person judge me for taking the Christ out of Christmas if I don't? This makes me want to take the Lord's name in vain. Even for someone as irreverent as me, I think that's a bad thing. Especially this time of year.

Okay, I lied. I only have three major gripes.

After my dream (see previous post), I am pondering whether I should just cut out the kvetching and do something about my vitriol. This makes me extremely uncomfortable, even afraid, because I have a choice. It might not go over well with some folk.

Do I stop buying stuff for my extended family, excepting the children for whom I think the magic of Christmas Day was actually created? They might think I'm cheap. Do I write my adult family and friends a letter telling them not to send me gifts and instead take the time to explain to them how much they mean to me? They may think I'm a hippie do-gooder. Do I take all the money I would be spending in the stores and donate it to people who desperately need things, like coats and blankets and food? I know I don't give enough to the poor, the oppressed, the hopeless. This makes me feel poor, oppressed and hopeless, too.

Do I enthusiastically wish people the peace of Christ on Christmas and just hope that they understand that I am not some mindless zealot trying to oppress them with my beliefs...I'm just wishing them some love and joy because they are my neighbors? They might think I'm one of those Christians. You know, the kind that is oblivious or dismissive of all other religious holidays.

The cold hard truth is, at 40 something, I'm still afraid of what other people think of me. I've mostly gotten over caring about how others might judge my parenting style or my appearance. But I still care about what the "cool" people, the intellectuals, think about me. I want to love God with all my heart, mind and soul because I believe in a divine force. Yet...

I don't want to look like a fool in front of others. I don't want to be embarrassed about my beliefs in front of God. I just want to be me. So, this Advent, I could care less about Christmas day. I am commmitted to the waiting...waiting for the light to shine into my life and show me what to bring forth and what to let fade away into the darkness.


Kim said...

Peace be with you Nancy. Write the notes of appreciation! Be the pioneer! It is all so sadly true.

Anonymous said...

Thank you again for a poignant and absolutely brilliant post. It shows candor and courage to share your real fears with people as you do. I utterly respect that about your work. I have never had the chutzpa to be anywhere near as honest with myself as you are.

The fact is that we all fear what folks will think of us. In my experience intellectuals suffer from this far more than "normal" folks do. Truth be known, that is half the reason we are intellectuals to begin with. You are right to cut through the crap and get at what makes us tick is the key. To live you have to quit your tents and venture into the world, without fear.

May the peace, that passeth all understanding, keep your heart and mind in God.


Di said...

I was writing this morning, and about halfway through my own worries about what people would think if I did or said X, I suddenly thought, "What if there are things people secretly need, or unseen ways I can serve, if I could just have the courage to listen to God and trust myself?"

I know that the people who have been my biggest lifesavers were not acting to gain my approval.

Having said that, let's see if I manage to apply it (or still remember it next week, for that matter).