Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Over-commercialization of Christmas

One reason my boyfriend hates Christmas so much is because he feels it is too over-commercialized.  It is for this exact reason that I love it so much.

I find it very ironic that it is not politically correct to wish people a Merry Christmas.  I took a poll the other day that stated that out of the several thousand people who answered it, 90% of them celebrated Christmas.  So we Christmas celebrators are the clear majority.  And I would not be hot and bothered if someone wished me a Happy Hanukkah.  I would wish them a Merry Christmas right back.  Lately, when someone wishes me a Merry Christmas, they look sheepish.  If you are going to say it, boom it out like Scrooge after he's been spiritually visited.

Now, on to why I love Christmas.  It is the time of year where we get to share so many things with others.  We all sit, watching the Weather Channel with hopes of a white Christmas while the romanticized idea of snuggling by a fire with a loved one is deeply nestled in our heads.  It is the time of year where we can plan on avoiding any area near a mall because we know there's no way in flying poo we will ever get through the traffic.  It is the time of year where copious amounts of cookies and sweets make their way into our belly, and the soft angelic songs of Snoopy's gang ring in our ears and Hershey Kisses play a jingle jangle little tune on TV.  Everything seems to come together at this point in a celebratory Hoorah!  The end of the year is here and we've made it through another one.

However, for me, nothing else about Christmas beats the light displays.  It is the only place where penguins and polar bears can frolic freely, the only place where Jesus and Santa get along, and the only place where tacky is acceptable.  There is something peaceful about falling asleep to the gentle movement and hum of those tiny lights coming through my window at night, shining brighter than the moonbeams and stars and the Virginia Power streetlight.

My fondest memories are of the arguments between my parents:  will this year be colored lights or traditional white?  Decorating the house was always the best part of Christmas.  My sister and I each had our own little tree and nativity set. My mother's three wise men creeped me the heck out.  Homemade kings of fire and brimstone is more like it.  The politically correct black king was a literal interpretation of a "black" man.  Poor thing looked like he'd been tarred.  And the tallest wise man's face was definitely melted on.  He had a saggy eye.  I would always run quickly by them when I passed for the nightmares they ensued.

My sister and I always got a new ornament every year.  I still have my first (a wooden tree with presents inside) and, unfortunately, so does my mother.  This poor angel with fuzzy pipe cleaner arms and balding head finally met her demise to some squirrels last year.  It really did break my heart to see how it affected her.

I know Christmas is over-commercialized but it is because of that commercialization that I have so many fond memories.  Yeah, the wise men were creepy, but my grandmother made them, so I appreciate them.  I will always remember the year a mouse died in our sofa and we discovered it when moving the furniture to set up the tree.  The year everyone got sick because we decided to buy a real tree will always be in my memories and Miracle the cat always makes decorating the tree uber fun.

I don't care if you hate Christmas because you feel it's fake and everyone should be kind and happy throughout the entire year.  Or that if you want to give gifts, you believe you don't need a holiday to do it.  Here's what I have to say to that:  unfortunately, people are not kind all year round and they don't give presents or set up light displays or hang stockings or sing carols or drink eggnog or give fruit cakes or sell Hickory Farms in the mall any other time of the year.  So if stores want to start setting up Christmas displays before Halloween, let them, because it brings my memories evermore quickly to the place where the fondest times of my life exist.

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