It’s Christmas. I love this time of year, even though it’s cold and dark. I love seeing the kids on Christmas morning, believing with all their hearts that Santa visited and left them presents. I remember that the Santa snack, missing in the morning and replaced with pitiful cookie crumbs, was the absolute proof for me. There was simply no doubt. It was Truth, the way the globe theory of the shape of the earth is Truth.
I’m worried that this may be the last year for the full Santa treatment in our house. Aimee has already asked if I think Santa is real. She’s still in the stage where she completely and automatically discounts anything which may contradict the facts in her world, thankfully. She’s not ready yet to see things through jaded, reality-laden eyes. I’m certainly not ready for her to graduate to that stage yet. So I’ll keep reaffirming her beliefs any way I can, even if I need to use subtly veiled threats of coal to keep her innocent for a few more years. Childhood is too short as it is.
The fuss and bother around the political correctness of all associated with Christmas these days is really getting on my nerves. There is the faction that mutters about it because it is no longer a Christian holiday, but a commercial one. There are those who object because it is a Christian holiday and they are left out for being Jewish or Muslim or Hindu. Regardless, it seems there are more cranky people than happy ones, when really, it should be the opposite. The people I work with, who are not Christian, wish me Merry Christmas, and I do the same to them. I also wish them Happy Ramadan, or Rosh Hashana or Hannukah, or whatever they celebrate, as they do to me. What’s the big deal? Why are people so wound up about all this?
And then there’s the question of the commercialism of The Season. I agree it’s gone over the top, but it needn’t. The reason I give gifts is because I love seeing the recipient react to what I’ve chosen. It tells me if I have assessed their tastes and desires well. I’ve done a good thing when they like what I’ve chosen for them.
I am proud to say that my kids have not gone over to the dark side in their desire for Christmas loot. I was worried, because prior to this year, they really never watched commercial tv, so they were never aware of what was out there to want. Recently, however, we have been allowing them to expand their viewing horizons, and I was a little worried that they would get a case of the gimmies. However, it has been a labour to get them to name anything in particular that they want Santa to bring. I have been pleasantly surprised not to find great long lists of demands stuck to the fridge. In fact, they have generated a few ideas themselves, about gifts to give other people. They seem to be in the “giving” mode, and from what I’ve seen so far, the gifts they are choosing have been quite thoughtful.
I must confess, I do like presents. It appeals to my self esteem when someone proves they care enough about me to consider what I would want and pick it out for me. I love the magic of a present, a pretty package with a mystery inside. The package is Potential – it could be anything. The suspense, the anticipation, the exquisite thrill of splitting open the wrap for the first peek, the half-second of guilt at destroying a lovely package (the gift is a gift in and of itself, aside from what’s inside the package). And I want that for those who are the recipients of my gifts.
So Christmas doesn’t have to be all Scrooge and Grinch. What gets done, gets done. It’s all about making darkness into light, depth into cheer. All winter festival-type holidays stem from the winter solstice. Here, it happens to be the coldest, darkest time of year. Christmas and Hannukah, are festivals of light. We light candles, twinkly lights, entire trees, we give gifts and have parties, we eat, drink, and are (supposed to be) merry, all to brighten up these short, lightless days.
We need to celebrate whatever our traditions do, and everyone else’s traditions, as well. If our traditions include gift-giving, we should choose the gifts we give with care, with thought and consideration for those we are giving to, and receive gracefully, and with the knowledge that someone really cared about us when they picked them out. We should relax and enjoy the festivities, because when the season is over, it’s still cold and dark, but we have the good memories of family, and friendship to carry us through until the days get longer and warmer again. No post-season let-down, no hangover, no regrets, just good times, and thoughtful behaviour. We are all people, regardless of belief system, and if this is the one time of year that we remember it, well, better than never. A season is as good an excuse as any to get along.
So celebrate, whatever your reason. Christmas happens to be mine. Merry Christmas, everyone.