Every year around Christmas, I get less and less "joyful" and more and more "scroogeful" (let's decide that's a real word)... and this was no exception. Quite the opposite, for some reason this year, I actually want to skip Christmas altogether. It could be that despite all the commercialism (more on that later), it kind of snuck up on me. Everything's been doing that this year, now that I have a life and all... But whatever the reason, one thing is sure, I'm a regular grinch and here are my top ten reasons for wanting to skip Christmas this year:
10. The Cookies
Nobody really needs to ever eat this many cookies in their life. But they're there, and they're so cute. And there are so many. SOOOO many. and they're all different. I never knew there were more species of cookie than of birds. You can't just sample one or two. What birdwatcher just ends their life satisfied with spotting two birds?? No, you have to try them all. And you blow your diet (even if you didn't have one), for what? a slab of sugar in the shape of Santa?
9. The Music
Each year it gets more annoying. I'd give examples, but I have purposefully not listened to any this year so I am a little out of touch. But some songs from the 80s come to mind, gosh those were awful. And all those new pop singers trying to remake classics? ::rolling eyes:: Bing Crosby is fine, I'll listen to his CD any time of year. But if I have to hear one more song about Mommy or Susie or Rudolph, I may just go insane.
8. The Cheese Factor
Fortunately, I have a great pastor that keeps his sermons fresh year round, including Christmas. But that's the exception. Most of the time, you get one sappy version of the story, year after year. Listen, just because the actual Scripture doesn't change, it doesn't mean you have to tell us the same thing every year. Especially because by doing that, you're just passing on wrong information, year after year. Everywhere you look, the story of Christ's birth has become this cheesy, watered-down version of the truth.
7. The Theology
Ok, let me preface this by saying, I'm not a crazy conservative. Let me just go ahead and vomit at the thought before I even begin. Alright... now it's time to go ahead and bring up good ole Santy Claus. Just the other day, I was thinking to myself how backwards this whole thing is. There's a list of good and a list of bad and your actions throughout the year dictate which list you're on.... Did a Catholic come up with this concept (no offense)? Geez. Talk about works-centered theology. And the thought of getting rewarded is the motivation behind the behavior? ohhh, see, now shouldn't a child behave, I dont know, because it's the right thing to do?? I know I'm going overboard here, and quite honestly, I'm still going to teach my kid about Santa because it encourages a child's imagination and is a cherished part of childhood... but still, does anybody else see the flaws here?
6. The Early Start
I'm shopping for Halloween stuff and I see Christmas stuff... yeah. It's early November at the grocery store and I hear Christmas songs overhead. I just can't take it. I personally LOVE Halloween and Thanksgiving and feel like they're ripped off by Christmas. It just can't wait its turn, so it has to overshadow two perfectly good holidays. Not cool Christmas. Not cool at all.
5. The Travel
Well booking a flight home didn't happen. If it did, I'm sure I'd complain about the idiots at the airport.... but it didn't, so now I have to complain about the idiots on the road... for 11 hours there and then 11 hours back. Well actually, it will be more than that, because we're making detours and stops and all that. Which, as a bright shiny moment in this blog, I will say something positive by letting you know I'm actually very happy we get to detour and see many friends of ours. And now we'll have our car and won't have to worry about fragile, awkwardly shaped or heavy/large presents. So really it's a good thing, but I have to complain about it anyway.
4. The Planning
It starts months ahead. Which one of the ten places we have to go will we go to first? Who will we see and how long will we stay? Then who's next? Did we make sure to include everybody? No, we missed your great-aunt's second cousin's step-daughter's neighbor? Dang, well maybe next year. Yeah, getting married always increases your family, but when he's got two families and all three of your families (all 6 parents) have extended families all within 20 miles of each other, the holidays require a detailed calendar... and a pencil with a good eraser.
3. The Parties
This doubles up on #4 cause everybody always has 10,000 Christmas parties to go to. All are "worthy" of your time and your lame white elephant gift, but gosh darn it, there are only so many days in one month to celebrate the same cheesy thing (which let's face it, is not at ALL what you're celebrating as you're slamming down that 5th shot or 10th cookie)... Does anybody ever walk away from those things with a gift worth keeping? Or do you, just like me, end up recycling the white elephant gift at the next Christmas party...?
2. The Stress
Having said all this, I think it's pretty obvious that Christmas is a source of stress. Throw annual things like Finals in there (progress reports in my case), and you have yourself quite an ordeal. And every year, I end up running around like a chicken with my head cut off: trying to bake cookies, wrap crappy presents, finalize lists, buy presents, book plane tickets, decorate the house (that surprisingly didn't make the list, but it should've, gosh I hate doing that. oh and the lame ornaments, sooo tacky!!), and I end up just saying to myself... ok so Jesus was born 2000+ years ago for this? really? cause I'm pretty sure in John 10:10 it says that He came so that we may have life abundantly... and for some reason I don't think making ourselves sick over to-do lists is what He had in mind when He said that... but ya know, I'd hate to put words in His mouth...
1. The List
My #1 gripe this year, by far: making a list. I mean, it seems fine enough on the surface, I'm just letting people know what I want for Christmas. It shouldn't be hard to come with stuff, and I shouldn't complain about doing it. It's an honor, some might say (namely, my husband who completely disagrees with me on this one). But it wouldn't be the holidays (or a very good Top Ten list) if I didn't complain... so here it is.
It's the principle of the idea. That I have to tell somebody what I like so that they don't disappoint me Christmas morning. And see here I thought, it was the thought that counts. Nope, not to Andrew. If I saw something I thought he'd like, so I thought I'd spend my money and get it for him, and I thought I'd give it to him to show him I was thinking of him, and he didn't like it, then apparently I failed. That's not how the system should work, I am told. I am told that the way to get the most out of Christmas presents is to give somebody a specific list (and actually he makes separate lists for each family to ensure he doesn't get doubles) so on Christmas morning, he knows exactly what he's going to get. And if somebody were to deviate from the list cause they saw something they thought he'd like? Oh geez, don't even joke about that. It's a crime against Christmas.
Whereas, I thought the whole concept was that I took the time to think about what that person likes, dislikes, wants, needs, should have, could use, might enjoy, etc. and then got that for the person. And what joy is there anyway in knowing exactly what your presents are? What originality is put into getting something somebody put on a list? There is absolutely no thought in that.
I shouldn't have to make a list. People should know me by now, and if they don't, then how else are they going to get to know me if I'm limiting their ability to even think about what I would want?
Ok so perhaps I am being a bit dramatic ("A bit?!?")... but I thought I'd start this blog out right. Get used to me blogspot, cause I'm here and I'm ranting. And I'm not going to shut up any time soon.
As always, thoughts? comments? complaints (are just a waste of time, so dont bother)? agree/disagree? what would you put on your list? will you skip Christmas with me? We can go on a cruise in the Caribbean, cause if there's something else I hate about this time of year it's the weather, but that's not Christmas' fault...