Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Most wonderful time of the year

Despite balmy temps here in the Capitol City, it's definitely winter. The sun is in that position in the sky so that no matter what time of day it is or in what direction you are driving, you are totally blinded. The landscape seemed to change almost overnight. I found myself sitting at a familiar intersection about a week ago wondering why it looked so different. Then it struck me; there were no more leaves on the trees, allowing unobstructed and weirdly bare skyline.

Annoying dry patches of skin have appeared on my cheeks and will be there until March. Joy. Plus the skin on my hands will be in a state of constant tightness until spring. Let's not even go into my static-ridden hair. My poor child has inheireted said hair from me.

While I am enjoying the continous Christmas music on Lite 98 (Because I am a cheesy dork and love Christmas music), the station committed the ultimate sin yesterday morning. Not only did it play the vomit-inducing Christmas Shoes, but also in that same hour, it aired the treacly and so-not-a-Christmas-song ballad about the guy who runs into his old girlfriend in a grocery store on New Year's Eve and they end up spending the evening reminisening and drinking beer in his car. Ugh.

I've always wanted to have a mostly homemade Christmas, and this year I've finally gotten the opportunity. It's been a lot more fun spending time being creative and crafty than running all over town picking up knicky-knacky crap for everyone (and I SWEAR we're not cheap or poor or whatever). As the years go by, I feel more and more that an American Christmas is a rampantly consumer Christmas. We are bombarded by advertising and pressured culturally to buy and give more crap that we don't need. Having worked the Christmas season in retail, I have experienced first-hand how angry, frustrated, and downright nasty this pressure makes people. I look around my house and I see cabinets and closets overflowing with stuff. We have more than we need. It's not that I don't love to give and receive gifts, I just wish that we could tone it down. Focus more on giving out of love and less about living up to some silly capitalistic standard of consumption.

People give me shit when I tell them that I never really believed in Santa Claus as a child. But for me Christmas was about getting to see family I didn't see very often. It was about driving at night on our way to Grundy and seeing houses way high in the mountains all lit up with Christmas lights. My Aunt Edith's Christmas Eve dinner. My Uncle HA's deep, rollicking voice when he told stories. Getting to explore and play in the mountains. Sleeping late. My grandfather's mealtime prayers. Pancakes on Christmas morning. Yes, I am an only child and was the only grandchild for almost 14 years. Yes, I got plenty of gifts. But it's not what I remember most about Christmas, and I hope that one day Alastair will be able to look back on the same fond memories. Not of this toy or that gift, but of the fun times we shared and the traditions we established within our family.

Yeah, so anyway, expect some edible, homemade gift this year. And if you really want to give us a gift, get something for the baby. He's almost into 18 months-sized clothing. Or you can always hit my wish list...

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