So many shared sentiments... Where to begin?? Rich and I have a list of our friends who blog (yes, you guessed it... far more than the "43" days of "Blog Love" will accommodate!) As we scanned our list earlier today I took time to look through a few recent posts from our friends. What caught my attention? "Confessions of a Scrooge" by blogging friend of "1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure" Talon Windwalker.
|Picture courtesy of 1Dad1Kid.com|
Today is Thanksgiving in the United States which is also the official segue to the "Christmas Season" -- with all it's 'glory' and shopping mayhem! Ugh!! The consumerism in the United States abhors me; apparently Talon and I have parallel perspectives on that topic, sharing some of the same reasons and some different. You see I grew up with parents who seemed to enjoy the holiday in all it's 'traditions' of Santa. But somehow, I could never wrap my brain around the whole concept.
Believe me it was not for my dad's lack of trying. I mean, each and every year until I was about ten my dad would manage to finagle a visit from 'our guy in red' -- who always showed up bearing small gifts and candy canes. Then on Christmas morning we awoke to the presence of stockings overflowing and a 'special' gift adorned with only a big red bow, and a tag signed 'From: Santa' -- How could a kid not get warm fuzzy feelings from that?
In the earliest years I didn't suspect a thing. However by the time I was seven I realized that Santa smelled of whiskey and cigars... The last "Santa" visit that I recall, I noticed that his accent had changed (to that of someone from "New Yawk" ... we were in California.) And he smelled of Brandy, sans the cigars. I, very candidly, suggested that he wasn't Santa but 'the plumber' in disguise! My dad and "Santa" shook their heads in unison and denied my claim, all the while trying to squelch their smirks. However, the jolly guy in red never visited on the eve of Christmas again.
It was kind of a shame, as it was fun, but truthfully even way back then the giving of gifts seemed to have its superficial moments. I typically took great pride in taking my time to choose special, heart felt, gifts for those close to me. Most often I saved money for months that I earned via babysitting and doing yard work with my brother (oh and a few dollars earned selling mistletoe, some years...) to buy materials to make gifts as I believed that they were much more meaningful.
With that in mind I guess it's no wonder that it bothered me when I received gifts that seemed like they had just been a last minute 'grab n go' so as to have the impression of a gift. To give the illusion that the person truly thought enough of me to 'get' me something. To me Christmas has never been about the gifts, those material things I mean... It's been about giving a bit of yourself; that means so much more!
Many times gifts were from 'found' items... one year I recall my brother and I collecting lids from pretty much any jar type container that we could find, then painting and otherwise decorating them which included cutting 'themed' pictures from magazines to glue to the interior. Tie a ribbon through a hole in the top made with an ice pick and "Voila!" A Christmas tree or wall ornament!
Even as a child I remember many years, that I lovingly made coupon books -- decorated to fit the personality of the recipient -- to give to family and friends. They were good for such things as babysitting, dog walking, mowing and raking lawns, home baked cookies, back rubs, hugs n kisses... you get the idea. Aren't those the important things? The things that you can't by at your local department store? I share Talon's sentiment: the holidays are not worth going into debt for. No way! No how! (Not to say I haven't been 'sucked in' to that mentality a time or two in my life, but that's another post...)
Over the years Christmas (which also is the same week as my birthday) has held much sadness and strife for me in my life due to loss and alcoholism of others around me, in my younger years. Thus 'getting into the spirit' is really a stretch for me. Which has caused me some distress, being a mom. After all, we're supposed to 'do it up' and all... Right? It just feels so artificial.
Thankfully I have children who understand that I give them 'gifts' that they want/need all year long and waiting for a particular day on the calendar to roll around is just not 'my thing'... And they seem to be okay with that. But it goes beyond that, right? "What about celebrating the birth of Christ? After all I know that you're a believer" I can hear you say from afar. Yes, I am a believer... but...
Celebrating the birth of Christ is not a 'once a year' event. It's a daily thing for me... and besides that the jury is still out as to when Christ was born. Add to that all of what Talon said in "Confessions of a Scrooge" (you did read it, right?) it's really a holiday with a 'mish-mash' of "roots" so-to-speak... I mean really --- I have LOTS of friends who are not Christ followers who celebrate Christmas.
|Picture courtesy of 1Dad1Kid.com|
Hello?? Are you paying attention? I do believe that it's great that Christians want to take this time to celebrate the birth of Christ and my Jewish family and friends celebrate Chanukah/Hanukkah (and this year "Thanksgivukkah" -- one of those 'blue moon' type events) and still others celebrate Winter Solstice, etc. etc. etc. But "It's ALL Good!!!" Sharing the love and peace of the season should happen 365 days a year -- not just for one day a year -- and that one day should not be preceded by 30 days (give or take) of shopping mayhem. Just sayin'...
Still all these years I've muddled through the "holiday season" (yes there's that 'phrase' that so many Christians seem to take offense to...) trying to 'be in the spirit' but it's been more of a 'fake it til ya make it' sorta thing for me. Well thank you Talon, I think I finally "Made it!!" I LOVE your "Chrismakah" idea. Even though I'm not Jewish I do find the holiday beautiful -- and as I reflected earlier appreciate much about the vantage point of this season as viewed by others.
So... this year, we'll make it our own. I am excited about really giving that some thought and starting some new traditions. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!! You're an awesome guy. Who knew that years ago, when we started following the plans for yours and Tigger's launch into a nomadic lifestyle that we would connect so well over the miles... You, sir, are on the list of Facebook friends who we definitely look forward to spending some time with! Thank you for sharing your travels, reflections and traditions with us! MUCH appreciated!
|Picture courtesy of 1Dad1Kid.com|
For those of you who would like to learn more about Talon and Tigger, do read About them on their blog. Look for links to other blogs and writings by Talon in that section as well. As you peruse 1 Dad, 1 Kid, 1 Crazy Adventure you'll also find out more about what types of resources fund their nomadic lifestyle. Of course to keep up with the latest do follow them on their Facebook Page.
Please leave comments for us (below) and share about your favorite memories, traditions or "survival tips" for the season. Do take a few moments to read and share some "Blog Love" with Talon and Tigger! Tell them that the Nomadic Jesters sent ya!
Until tomorrow... Enjoy the journey...