Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Manifesto

Even when you try to opt out of the crazy, it finds you.

See, I exempted myself this year from Christmas; the secular consumption fest, that is. We decided on one gift for the kids, one they will love and will use everyday. I diligently sent in my money for the school parties when asked a few months ago. Since we will be out of town, I decided not to decorate, not even a tree, which with a whirling dervish eleven month old would have been a nightmare, anyway. We've made candy, cookies, and tried to build a gingerbread house, which we gave up on and merrily ate the iced walls, instead. We've all been humming carols, some despite ourselves, and the kids have yet to even mention the lack of all things decorative. Except their gratitude for not being sent an elf on the shelf, which they declared creepy. On the contrary, they both sat down at the same time and wrote letters to the teachers to include with the peppermint bark we made. This seemingly small act is akin to a Christmas miracle. For both of my grade-schoolers to sit, willingly and with moderate grumping (the middle child cannot help himself - he is a champion complainer) write a letter?! Amazing. I admit, I was delighted in the smuggest way possible that they might have actually caught on to what I've been trying to get them to understand with my seemingly humbug ways. Ho, ho, ho, hubris...

Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Diwali, or Festivus, or Ramadan, or Solstice, or Kwanzaa, or Jul, or whatever you celebrate has nothing to do with spending money. Not one of these celebrations require anything more than what you are expected to do, as a human being, for one another. Feed each other, comfort each other, be with each other, appreciate the passage of time, remember the dead, celebrate the living, honor your faith, grow your spirit, let go of the darkness and welcome the light. Stress yourself, empty your wallet, and became a general jerk to everyone you encounter for a month, in my limited scholarship, is not decreed in any of the above rule books. Yet, we become disciples to the descent into the crazy every year.

So, friends, as I gather my skirts of idealism around me and try to teach my children to recognize and celebrate what really matters, I wish you a wonderful and safe holiday season. Thank you for taking the time to join me here and I look forward to sharing the joys, difficulties, ups, downs, in, outs, and beauty of another year with you. Cheers!