Friday, December 14, 2007

A More Meaningful Holiday

Everyone I know, it seems, is rethinking the holiday this year. We're either: a) sick to death of the nonstop holiday tunes and tv specials; b) a little scared to shop after viewing ads imploring us to "Stop at Nothing!" (does this include violence?) to make sure we get the I Can Play Guitar thing before someone snatches it out from under us; or c) we're more aware of the bad stuff that's going on in the world. War, starvation, injustice, the effect of global warming on penguins, power outages and natural disasters will dampen even the hardiest holiday spirit.

Have we Al Gore to thank for this Blue Christmas? Maybe. We're completely cutting out purchasing unnecessary stuff for people who don't really need it. We're examining the pedigree of each item: where were you made? How much oil did it take to produce/transport/package you? Will I be taking advantage of some poor soul's socio-economic status by purchasing you? If you don't fit the guidelines, you can just stay on the shelf!

We're aghast at the piles of wrapping paper we wasted each year. We always knew it was bad, so naturally, we recycled as much as possible . . . but show me a half-price sale the week after Christmas and I was a wrapping paper stocking up fool, trees be damned! And now? Never again will I buy a roll of wrap when there is plenty of shipping box stuffing paper and yesterday's newspaper lying around! I should be getting carbon credits for this.

We've done all the shopping we're going to do. I bought a few books for some friends and family, and a painting for our godson. Gift bags (reusable, natch) for each of our employees. Practical items like grocery store gift certificates have replaced tchotchkes and silly stocking stuffers.

No Stuff on My Cat calendars. No bendable Oscar Wilde figurines. No Clickit magnets.

There is no tree in our living room, no lights on our porch railing. Yet. I may still be compelled to decorate a bit. But, as one of our favorite servers at our brewpub said, "You don't have to cut a tree down to feel good about yourself."

On Christmas, we'll invite our friends and nearby family (now that we have some) over to relax and enjoy some good food and even better beer and wine. We'll play games. We'll talk about ways to celebrate our friendships and the ties that bind us throughout the entire year, and we'll each define the season in our own way.

We'll look with hope to the new year, and we'll all feel good about the complete lack of wrapping paper in the recycle bin. If only it could save the penguins.


Professor J said...

I am inspired by some of your ideas.

I must admit to falling prey to some of the traditional trappings of the season. I have an artificial tree that I've had for years, so at least I don't have to feel bad about that anymore.

I'm big on getting together to play games and talk with family and friends, myself. It's a good, good thing.

Claire B. said...

I think I sound a bit sanctimonious upon re-reading my post! Those trappings and traditions run deep in most of us; it's actually a little depressing to not "feel it" this year. I went to a party last night and admired the decorations and the tree and lights. They were beautiful and they didn't hurt a thing. Except the tree was dead and all!

Mrs. G. said...

Can I just say your Christmas sounds perfect.

Mary Alice said...

I don't think it sounds sanctimonious at all...I feel like a change is coming. It has all gotten out of hand and yes, there was the Inconvenient Truth. Maybe that started the shaking that loosened heads from posteriors…but wasn’t it about time? Haven’t we reached some sort of tipping point? There’s that old saying, live simply so others may simply live. That may be more appropriate these days than ever.

Claire B. said...

Hey, Mary Alice--
Now we're talking. . . and yes, there has been a shift in thinking that is noticeable and real.

It's a big world out there and we Americans negatively affect it in frightening proportions.

Thanks for your comment!