These are random musings of my life journey, the people, animals, places, and events which have woven, and continue to weave, a tapestry that is me. We all know there is no real destination, only the ongoing experiences which blend together, creating the trail. Each step gives a glimpse of what is to come, without allowing me to see the end result. It is exciting. I have a home base that is mine, that gives me a place to rest. This is it. This is where my heart is, no matter where I journey...................

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Holidays .... Bah, Humbug!

Reading a blog this morning, I found the following:

The World, 20th December 1893

An Atrocious Institution.

Like all intelligent people, I greatly dislike Christmas.

It revolts me to see a whole nation refrain from music for weeks together in order that every man may rifle his neighbour's pockets under cover of a ghastly general pretence of festivity. it is really an atrocious institution, this Christmas. We must be gluttonous because it is Christmas. We must be insincerely generous; we must buy things that nobody wants, and give them to people we don't like; we must go to absurd entertainments that make even our little children satirical; we must writhe under venal officiousness from legions of freebooters, all because it is Christmas - that is, because the mass of the population, including the all-powerful middle-class tradesman, depends on a week of licence and brigandage, waste and intemperance, to clear off its outstanding liabilities at the end of the year.

As for me, I shall fly from it all tomorrow or next day, to some remote spot miles from a shop, where nothing worse can befall me than a serenade from a few peasants, or some equally harmless survival of medieval mummery, shyly offered, not advertised, moderate in its expectations, and soon over.

In town there is, for the moment, nothing for me or any honest man to do. 

                                     ~George Bernard Shaw

 I don't share his disdain for Christians (well, unless someone is foisting their ideas on me without my invitation), but I bulk of his statement does seem to strike at a place in me that has been struck with this many times before now. And frankly, that place is getting sore from the repeated strikes!

So here's what entered my mind .... 

First, what a surprise to me that this isn't a recent occurrence in our lives! I thought it was, based on my own life experiences. When I was a child I asked Santa for one thing. Well, OK, sometimes more, but usually just two or three in the style of "I really want _____, but if you can't bring me that, I would like _____ or _____." I'm pretty sure that was under the advice of my mother who knew that three gifts were not feasible. I think she also wanted me to learn to think carefully about what I wanted most, a skill I've all but forgotten, I must admit. Anyway .... In addition to what Santa brought, there was usually another gift or two from my parents, gifts from siblings as finances allowed, and occasionally something from extended family. And I remember my childhood as being a happy one. I don't recall feeling deprived, ever. I was always happy with what I got, and if I didn't get what I asked for, I don't remember thinking about it, because I was delighted with what was under the tree.

Second, I said recently that Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it does not include any gift-giving practices. It has been reserved for remembrance, for acknowledging the gifts already received in our lives, for sharing what we have with loved ones by way of feasting and gathering for fellowship.  I really, really like that.

Christmas has become so commercialized and plastic, in my opinion. Children have lists that are l-o-n-g, and parents scramble to buy every gift on that list. It often feels to me like a competitive sport! And in the process of all this, the meaning of Christmas is often forgotten. Whether you are big-time Christian or not, this just seems so wrong, letting Christmas gifting practices over shadow the underlying and valid reason for the holiday .... the ultimate gift given to us, one that can not be duplicated! And we shouldn't try to do so. Christ's gift can not be represented with dolls or toy army tanks or iPods. 

As I watch TV, I am essentially repulsed by the onslaught of commercials that say "Buy this!  Buy that! If you don't have this, you're not up to standard!" This happens all year, of course, but it is sickeningly prominent at this time of the year. I'd love to see this turned around, brought back to a level that is more in line with our current economy and with the true "reason for the season." Alas .... It won't happen in my lifetime.

How do you feel about this holiday? Do you agree with Georgie and me? What kind of changes would you like to see in this (or another) holiday? 

And, BTW, I'm not really Scrooge. Or the Grinch. Just grouchy!!  LOL!


  1. Blessings, hugs, and prayers,

  2. i don't like the commercialization of Christmas and the fact that every year the stores seem to start a little earlier on the Christmas promotions. By the time Christmas gets here, the magic has worn off and everyhting looks tired and worn.
    There are no children in my immediate family, so we do not participate in excessive gift giving. I will get something for my cats and for my hubby but that is all.

  3. I celebrate Christmas as a family Holiday. Like you I like Thanksgiving better.

    We always bought lots of presents for our kids and now for our Grandsons.

    But, they have so much and at Thanksgiving when we prodded them for Christmas wishes, they couldn't come up with anything.They are not greedy, and don't want more more more.

    At the end of November, the ten year old couldn't think of anything to spend his October 11th Birthday money on.

    Their parents seem to have struck just the right balance.

    BUT, one comment by the younger one did disturb me ... When considering what the best of something would be, he said, "just buy the most expensive."

  4. I listen to Christmas music a couple days each week. that keeps me from feeling overwhelmed by it. I avoid stores that play it and have huge displays of Christmas stuff. I stay away from the hype as much as I can.

    I really wish we could have a simple, quiet, peaceful holiday. I don't want much, do I?

  5. Merikay, it sounds like your children have done well with their kids. Whether there is a focus on religious aspects or not, the "more more more" being minimized is a good thing, for sure.

  6. Im getting to be the Grinch, Scrooge and grumpy too. I would like to go downtown and give blankets and warm old winter coats to the homeless. I would like to give all the money we spend on gifts to the Ottawa Soup Kitchen. Kids expectations are way out of wack. Sons garage looks like the annex of TOYS are Us and now more coming in a few weeks. Its not the son, its the daughter-in-law. I get really miserable at this time of year and would like to go to bed for the next 2 weeks and let life pass me by. There, now you know how I feel lol Not very nice, is it?

  7. Gee, Ruth, I wish you wouldn't hold back on expressing yourself!! LOL!

    that is exactly what I'm talking about. We need to remember simpler times and purposes. I like your ideas. Go for it!

  8. Though Shaw sounds too Scroogey for me, I agree with much of what you say. Christmas has long been too commercialized and I avoid TV because I hate the commercials there. Tis, true, Christmas is for kids in many ways but it's also a good teachable moment. You can't have everything and it's as good to give as it is to receive. Things like that.

  9. I guess I liked Christmas during childhood because my mother loved it and she was a prolific gift-giver, but now the only thing I like about Christmas are the bright decorative lights. A few years ago I figured that out, and now I keep a strand of red lights in my kitchen and orange and purple lights in the living room year round.

    I just sent off packages of gifts to my nieces and nephews in Boston and France. The gifts are books, and I am realistic enough to know that I should wonder how the kids will feel about receiving books as gifts. I feel as though I have just attempted to force my values onto my nieces and nephews. Hmmmm...


  10. Dave, I agree that Shaw is over the top, but the general idea fits for me. It is curious that this has been a point of contention for a while, much longer than I'd have thought. Yes, let's get back to teaching some simple values.

    Betty, My grandchildren rarely get anything from me but books. Occasionally I pick a book that I really want them to read, but I usually give them gift cards for Borders, B & N, Hastings, etc., so they can pick their own. If I happen to be with them at the gifting time, we go together to the store, they pick their books, then we go to Coldstone Creamery! It's a practice that even Grammy enjoys!

    I think books are the best gift, ever.

  11. You are so right. I am having trouble feeling like Christmas this year....... must try to get into a more thankful frame of mind.

  12. Freda, think I just *feel to much* of the commercialism, and it overshadows the rest. Yes, a thankful frame of mind is in order. A good reminder.


If you have something to say about it, just stick out your thumb, and I'll slow down so you can hop aboard! But hang on, 'cause I'm movin' on down the road!!! No time to waste!!!