There, I said it!!!
I know, bah humbug and all that. I’m not saying whether I’m I’m a Christian or not because that is irrelevant to CHRISTMAS nowadays. When you see Santa Claus next to skeletons in October, it just loses something, ya know?
In 1980ish, when I was a young Air Force officer, I first saw Christmas stuff being offered next to Thanksgiving displays. I wrote an article for the base paper about it. The base commander himself called me in to instruct me on why that article would not be appearing in the paper, something about allowing the base merchants to maximize sales or something to that effect. And so it began, 35 years or so ago.
It starts ramping up in October to buy, buy, buy for Christmas. Toy departments replace the garden department, even though the growing season isn’t half over where I live. Christmas trees are out. Christmas carols are already being played after Halloween until you are SICK of them! All for the almighty dollar. Reminds me of Jesus and the money changers. And almost nowhere in all this do you see manger scenes – just Santa and stockings and trees with gifts under them. I thought this was all supposed to be about a Christ child or something. My 80-year-old dad, a staunch Christian, just returned from a 3-day road trip, Christmas-ing with family and friends all over the place. You know, eating and exchanging gifts at different places. What does that have to do with the birth of a savior is what I want to know. So much travel, money and exhaustion? Unwanted gifts, white lies and overeating? In my little family of three adults, we each got one another one gift of something we knew each other would truly appreciate. For example, I really like the long lighters you use to light bonfires for burning brush. I got two in awesome neon colors that bend every way you can imagine! A more thoughtful gift I never received! Who needs diamonds or fancy appliances or expensive cars you pay for over months and years? I will never get a bill for those lighters and will think of my husband every time I gleefully burn another brush pile on our property.
I’m sure Jesus did not mean for us to get up at 4 a.m. to get Black Friday sale specials in His name. Or eat until we are in a stupor. Or have gift lists that include mail men and our beauty operators and people we don’t like just to keep up appearances. We have been led astray by the ‘money changers’ and are worse for it. When poor, my kids and I made our gifts for the ones we loved. I often still do. I paint gourds I grow on our land, and people love them! They BUY those things in ‘unique’ stores for obscene prices! And these are gifts from my heart, made special for each person I give them to. A TRUE gift. When I do give something to my awesome mail lady, Linda, I put a very personal note in with it about how her service this year meant so much to me. THAT’S a gift, people.
A gift is a way to honor someone, to show them what they MEAN to you. The Wise Men wanted to honor the Christ Child, to show what He meant to them. Remind yourselves for next year what the gift-giving is really about. Scale back and don’t let the money changers fool you into giving them your money beginning in October and November. Or buying Christmas trees and ornaments you don’t need just to show you are in THEIR spirit. Do things the way that feels right to YOU and your little family. Kids don’t need 10 kinds of toys. I like to give a book, then sit right down and read it to them. Suddenly, they all drop the fancy toys and listen avidly to the story! I don’t know if it’s the story or the attention they get from Aunt Jo but, for a few minutes, it beats all the expensive toys their parents tore their hair out trying to find.
Along those same lines, in August, you cannot buy a swimsuit, but you can buy a coat. I just don’t understand that. I live in an area that is still in the 90’s in August, sometimes even 100 degrees! We don’t need coats until maybe December! What’s the hurry to rush one season out and another one in? Mother Nature knows what our bodies need at any one time, NOT the retailers! Same with all this ‘natural food’ kick. If you actually read the labels, maybe the ingredients start out natural, but THEN they still add stuff to keep the shelf life longer. You want natural? Grow it yourself, or go to a farmer’s market or a produce section of your grocer. It won’t cost you as much either.
Anyway, enough for tonight. As always, please leave comments and input for discussion. It adds to the fun!