the holiday spirit

Chai Maintenance

A couple months before Crapmas some people get excited for all the holiday spirit and all the joy, is it just me or has this dwindled a little bit every year? Granted, I’m not an expert on this particular holiday but I’ve watched from the sidelines for a while. Has it always been so commercial and greedy? I don’t remember it that way.

The first time I really remember hearing about the whole holiday cheer getting a little out of control was the Tickle Me Elmo insanity when people were willing to push other people out of the way to get the stupid little doll. Is it just that I was raised a Jew that this screams “mental illness”? Who does that?

Then the incident on Black Friday in Walmart where the employee was trampled to death. This was not just a few people who desperately wanted to get in that store and save a few dollars but a stampeed of people, people that didn’t notice they were crushing the life out of a guy beneath them.

It’s not just the shopping, the way it seems to me the drivers get ruder and and just in general people are meaner everywhere I go. I dread this time of year because to me it feels like there is a black cloud over us and doesn’t clear up until after the new year.

If I had my way I’d get rid of the whole holiday and suggest that maybe we could all just get gifts for people when we felt like it, any time of the year. If I had it my way we’d get together more often in a big group, just have some good food and talk and even laugh a little maybe. If I had it my way the whole required gift giving would cease and desist. I would make life and everyday to be about just making each other happy. Hey, maybe even once and a while making ourselves happy.


  1. Maureen

    December 1, 2008 at 12:48 pm

    I read this and feel bad that you don’t see & feel the joy and wonder at this time of year. I suppose it’s all in how you look at it – a glass half empty/glass half full kind of situation.

    It probably helps that I’ve got beyond feeling that giving gifts is an annoying requirement and, instead, see it as a fun adventure, an opportunity to think of ways to surprise people & bring them a bit of happiness.

    And, yes, tragedies like the Walmart thing show how the Holiday season can bring out the worst in people, in people who don’t understand, don’t see the opportunity for joy here. But, it can also bring out the best in people, too, people who need a little nudge, need permission to be happy & do nice things for others and themselves.

    And, yes, it would be great if that happened year round. What a wonderful world that would be! And, many of us do live that joy & sharing in our lives every day. But, if it can’t happen year round, at least there’s this little slice of time where more people are trying, anyway.

    Maybe you’d be interested in celebrating the Humanist Winter Holiday of HumanLight ! It’s a winter holiday that celebrates the ideals of reason, hope, compassion and humanity. Those ideas are pretty much what we celebrate in our home, but with respect to all of the other winter holidays that other religions celebrate at this time of year, too.

    And, they all boil down to the ancient days when people celebrated the return of light after days, weeks and months of expanding darkness. There is joy in that. There is renewal. There is hope, every year, when the sun creeps back into our lives. A hope that I feel a great joy in sharing.

    Happy Winter Solstice!

  2. Avitable

    December 1, 2008 at 2:47 pm

    Christmas is obnoxious and people who get all Christmasy can really be frustrating to deal with. It’s just a fucking holiday!

  3. whall

    December 1, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    Could you get out of my way? I have Cyber Monday shopping to do!!!!


  4. Tara

    December 1, 2008 at 4:50 pm

    Not everybody feels all commercial this time of year. I’m a big fan of small gifts, just to say I was thinking of you, etc.

    Unfortunately, I think it’s been this way for a while. I remember seeing footage of fist-fights on the news the year Cabbage Patch kids came out, 1983, I believe. Stores kept selling out of them, too. My dad waited in the snow for 4 hours to get me one. No fighting for him, though.

    People are greedy and thoughtless. But many others are not. I wish the news showed them, the people who do just what you say — get together and just be with each other.

  5. H.

    December 1, 2008 at 5:31 pm

    I won a Tickle Me Elmo that year for two dollars in a raffle at the mall. They called me the day before Christmas Eve to let me know. When I went to pick it up, they had to have security walk me to my car. Insane! (I still have it. It’s the only thing I’ve ever won.)

    Christmas was fun when my son was little. We did the whole Santa bit. We’d track him online on Christmas Eve. When I’d tuck my son in bed, Roscoe would go outside and jingle some Santa bells to build the excitement. We’d make boot tracks in the ashes in our fireplace. When he’d go to sleep, we’d wrap the presents and put them under the tree. It was fun to see his the excitement on his face.

    Now? It’s not as exciting. Yes, we still spoil our son on Christmas. There’s still an element of fun in giving him the perfect gift. But we don’t go nuts. I refuse to shop on Black Friday. In fact, I hate shopping.

    At work, instead of doing the secret Santa thing this year, we all donated $25 and shopped for two needy children. That felt WAY better than buying a coworker some stupid trinket they’ll never use.

  6. Robin

    December 1, 2008 at 6:21 pm

    @Maureen – Like I’ve said, it probably partially has something to do with never having xmas and only Chanukah. I have good thoughts about Chanukah, I still enjoy to do parts of it but seeing it from a little Jewish girl’s POV when ours was so much about religion and tradition and family to see what xmas appeared to be for so many people put a bad taste in my mouth.
    @Avitable – Agreed. I really do wish I could cut the entire holiday out and I would if it weren’t for my SIL’s family (no offense Gemini) and I like hanging out with them I just don’t like the gift pressure is all. Someday we’ll move away and cut it out of our lives entirely and I’ll be very happy.
    @whall – **moving out of the way quickly*
    @Tara – There are always more than one side, sadly we never see anything else and as I stated above I was raised Jewish so I probably have a skewed view of it all.
    @H. – Your Elmo story frightens me…sigh. Your story with your son sounds wonderful…if we ever have a kid I hope to make our own traditions, something all our own and non-santa like.

  7. Amanda

    December 1, 2008 at 8:45 pm

    I was happily surprised this weekend- We had huge sales over the weekend, and everyone was great. People waited patiently in line, asked polite questions, and said please and thank you. It was amazing.

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