Oh, Christmas isn’t just a day, it’s a frame of mind… and that’s what’s been changing.


Ah Christmas. How I hate thee so.

Yes. Call me Ebeneezer Scrooge, the Grinch or a stupid poo poo-head meanie. I don’t mind. Before the self-righteous avengers out there  get their feathers all ruffled about someone bad-mouthing arguably the most popular holiday ever just days before it is celebrated let’s clarify exactly what I don’t like about Christmas. I don’t hate Christmas just to be an a douche nor does it stem from having a childhood wrought with personal letdowns. In fact my early years were fantastic. My parents, family and friends were awesome (and still are). I’m disgusted with the perversion that has adopted the name.  I pride myself in not buying into the corporate merchandising gimmick that has cleverly masked itself as Christmas. We’ve been manipulated over the past century into believing in this twisted concept that giving is something that is measured by quantity and cost.  This isn’t me channeling the power of the hippies. This is what’s going on. I’m not saying everyone has  bought into the madness. There are still many people out there who still remember what Christmas is all about. Don’t feel bad if you’ve fallen victim to this though. There are many of us out there with pure intentions but get caught up in the media fueled consumer frenzy. How many times have you been strapped for cash and felt bad over the Christmas holiday because you couldn’t get everyone you love something deliciously dazzling. How is that even remotely right? Why should a person feel guilt, remorse, pressure or even sorrow because they can’t afford to purchase something for someone? Is this really what the concept of Christmas has devolved into? Stampedes and trample injuries on Black Friday? Peer pressure spending? Depression over the holidays? 5 year olds getting iPhones and laptops?

I was reading the paper the other day and came across an article about some local Inuit children. The newspaper decided to get into the spirit of the holidays by printing their Christmas wish lists. One girl wanted a doll. One boy wanted skates. One after another there were simple and humble requests ranging from a puppy to a sled. Then along came the last little girl who literally turned my stomach when I read what she wanted…

“I would like an iPod or maybe an iPhone. I haven’t made up my mind yet.”

Seriously?

She couldn’t have been more than 6 or 7. I’m a 35 year old man and don’t even have an iPhone and yet, sure as shit stinks, someone will get this for her. Why? Because she needs it? Because it’ll make her happy? You’ll win her approval by doing so? I’m not too hip with my elementary school politics but I’m quite certain there’s nothing that pressing or important going on in a child’s life at that age that would facilitate the need for an iPhone other than the desire to be cool. I highly doubt she’ll be paying for the plan needed for such a gadget so guess who has to foot the bill for that as well? It’s getting really expensive to buy people’s love nowadays.

I was brought up with the understanding that you had to earn everything you get. I wasn’t underprivileged by any means but my parents also didn’t simply give me anything I wanted , even being an only child. Everything seems to be handed to people, especially children, on a silver platter nowadays. Gifts are meaningless. It ends up becoming a sick game of one-upping with the next “gift” exceeding the last. How can anyone learn to genuinely appreciate anything if  the whole gift-giving process revolves around the predication of “who can get me the better item”? Let’s take it back a few centuries to the cat who this holiday is all about, Mr. Jesus himself. It’s his birthday. Why are people stressing over getting other people gifts or not getting what they want? Isn’t the birthday boy supposed to be the one getting the gifts? Heck, I’d be pissed if it were my birthday and people were giving each other gifts and not me.

Just kidding Big J. Don’t strike me down just yet. I got two ideas to save Christmas.

Blasphemy aside, I dig where you were going with the idea JC. You wanted selflessness and giving to one another from the heart to be your birthday gift. Although the Catholic faith and I are bitter enemies at this point in time, there are certain principles that we share. That is why The Way of Zen will actually keep the tradition of Christmas intact. However we’ll have rules about how to celebrate it. People seem to follow suit when given instructions kinda like how they do when it comes to recycling programs. If left to their own devices people think far too much for their own good and start marring even the simplest of notions. Therefore we at the Way of Zen will enforce one of the following two ideas:

  1. All Christmas gifts have to be created by the person giving the gift. Gone are the days of being lazy. You need to make gifts matter. Bake something. Stitch something. Craft something. Build something. Teach someone something. It doesn’t matter. Any parent in the world knows how precious it is to receive a gift from their child that the little bugger created with their own two hands. You’ll save it , cherish it , talk about it, show it to everyone, and use it thirty years down the road to embarrass them when they’re adults. That sense of pride should be universal. Don’t cop out and brainwash your loved ones into believing expensive, complicated or flashy is better. So what if it brings the economy crashing down. Which would you rather have, your values or your cash? It’s quite obvious we can’t have both.
  2. The older you are the more expensive the gift. For those of you who can’t seem to wrap your brains around the thought of not purchasing something, I have this brilliant idea. Gifts based on age. The longer you’ve been on this planet the more expensive and greater amount of gifts you receive. Talk about earning your way. If you’re like 90 years old you should be bathed in lavish gifts cuz dammit, you earned it for lasting this long. It’ll give you something to look forward to as you age. We’ll have no more of this getting babies and children tons of gifts. Why? They haven’t earned a thing yet. Besides their gift is that their bloody parents are taking care of them for 18 years. They shouldn’t even be asking for anything more than that.

As always, if you can’t take things lightly you really shouldn’t be floating around my blog. I poke fun at anything and everything. Nothing is off limits. I do that because people need to learn to lighten up. If your life revolves around being uptight about anything anyone says because it differs from what you think then I truly feel sorry for you. Loosen up, put a smile on your face and enjoy the holiday for what it’s supposed to be – not what it is.

This will probably be my last entry before the grand spectacle so I’ll leave you with this…

To my family and friends
Blikes and blends
Whether you agree with me
Or drown yourself in holiday glee
With everyone’s favorite holiday near
I wish you a very merry Christmas
And a safe New year

I know. My poetry rocks.

Remember…

…if you can’t be good, be good at being bad. 😉

blends and blikes,
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3 responses

  1. Hippie Cahier

    I like your ideas and your poetry.

    Re: the little girl. My organization participated in the Adopt-An-Angel program. I used to participate in a similar thing at a former organization and I’d bring a toy, like an EZ Bake Oven or what have you. Here, they had a list of dozens of kids and their four requests. I skimmed the list and almost every one of them had a bicycle as number 1. I really wanted to give the number 1 present, but a bicycle?

    I skimmed and I skimmed and I skimmed until I came to the 12 year old girl whose number 1 item was “diary.” I like to think that some day she will grow up to be a famous writer and will attribute her start to the anonymous diary she received for Christmas. (I got her other things, too.)

    La-di-da..la-di-da. Merry, merry, happy, happy!

    December 20, 2010 at 10:46 pm

  2. Ah Grinch, I’m with ya there. Yet I still find myself knee deep in ‘gotta buy this’ ideals pervading the entire season. My 10 y/o wants an iphone too, but they’re kids, they always have ‘wants’ stashed away with no rhyme or reason behind them (I don’t have an iphone,pod or pad either).

    I love the idea of the hand made gifts and I must say I’ve done a bang-up job on instilling it into my kids because both have made all of their gifts. I love making things for people, but remind me next year to start a lot earlier so I’m not busting my butt trying to finish knitting sweaters for my kids until my hands burst.

    Merry Christmas Zen & wifey, hope your holidays are super, toasty warm!

    December 19, 2010 at 2:38 pm

  3. I pretty much agree with everything you said, Ian! The only things I’m looking forward to at Christmas time is being with our families, having big meals (which I really love to cook), and watching my granddaughter open her own presents for the very first time. Christmas dinners are pretty much the only part of Christmas that I remember from my childhood too! I couldn’t tell you what presents I got!

    I hope you and Suzanne have a lovely first Christmas in the Arctic together! I’ll be thinking of you guys, and I’m sure your families and friends will be too!

    Wendy

    December 19, 2010 at 8:01 am

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