This disturbing short article today in the New York Times reminds me of my Christmas angst. Shopping, wrapping, packing, sending, spending, spending, spending, spending. What the hell does all this have to do with the birth of Christ? I ask.
I am frustrated that I still don’t know how to celebrate Christmas in a meaningful way. I had hopes that I’d have it all figured out so I can pass on some lessons and traditions to my daughter.
There are only about 20 days left until Christmas so I need to figure it out soon. The easiest way out is to simply sit down, make a list and go shopping. By doing so, I promote the aspect of Christmas that disturbs me the most. Crazy, huh? Yet, even when I've sent out that message in the past that I don’t want to play that game, I am met with harsh criticism and people insist that they are still going to give me gifts no matter what because they like to. This year, I’ve been in denial. I haven’t said anything. I haven’t asked what anyone wants. I don’t want to know. I don’t know what I plan to do. Which means that I’ll probably end up at the last minute rushing about in a frenzy because I don’t want to be the mean mother/wife/daughter/sister/aunt/friend/employer, etc.
What is most important to me is seeing my family and enjoying time with them. My family is scattered all over the map. There will never be one time to see them all so I try my best to space it out throughout the year. This year I’ll be in Utah on Christmas to spend time with one side of the family. I’m thrilled that Chloe will get a chance to bond with her grandparents, play with her cousins, and ski with the dad’s while my sister and I have some uninterrupted time to spend with each other.
Christ’s birth is important to me, but not at the top of the list. I am not a practicing Christian. Yet, I still find there are many rich and valuable lessons to embrace in some of their stories. That and Chloe is obsessed with baby Jesus so I try to teach her what my understanding of Christ is, rather than let the retailers, cartoons and commercials form her beliefs. Ultimately, I’d prefer her obsession over Christ rather than Santa Claus as long as she doesn't start thumping bibles. I’d rather talk about how Christ’s profound message to the world was about loving and serving others. Not going to a shopping mall, spend all your money on things that people don’t really need so you aren’t an outcast by showing up empty handed.
While I muse over all this, Chloe is outside playing in freshly fallen snow with one very good friend. This is what I enjoy most about this season.