Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Wednesday's Words for December 7, 2011

For many, the Christmas rush is on. There are trees to be purchased or cut down, decorations to be unpacked or upgraded, and gifts to be bought.

Do you send Christmas cards?

I’m only going to send a few this year. I’m really trying to tow the line on excess, and it’s all because of a few blogs I’ve read recently—well those, and one of my local radio stations.

The station in question began playing Christmas music—all Christmas, all the time—about a month ago.

I was annoyed at first—not because I don’t like Christmas music, I do. Mostly I was annoyed because they keep playing the same songs, or different versions of the same songs, over and over and over again. And the songs they play generally tend to be contemporary “Christmas” songs, not what I would call real Christmas songs at all.

I’m afraid that when it comes to Christmas, I am a purist. I refuse to say “Happy Holidays”, or “Season’s Greetings”. I say, “Merry Christmas”.

To my knowledge, no one I’ve ever said that to has ever been offended by it. I don’t go out of my way to preach to others. I tend to keep my faith more or less private, unless I’m approached by someone who either wants to talk to me because they are curious about my faith; or because they think I need to be lectured as my faith is not the same as theirs.

Which brings me to the blogs. Basically, they were very well written rants (as even my blog can be from time to time). The gist of them was that Christmas has become far too commercialized in this day and age. It’s no longer the holiday it once was and is, instead, nothing more than a tribute to rampant consumerism.

I can’t really argue with the premise. It’s true that everyone has a Christmas sale, even if they aren’t in what one would normally consider a business associated with Christmas, or Christmas gift-giving. Everyone and his Uncle Harry seems to have an ad on the radio, television or, God save us, the Internet.

After just a couple of weeks, no one could blame anyone who was already sick of the holiday, and it’s only the first week of December.

I have great news! It doesn’t have to be that way.

All you have to do is turn the annoying device—whichever annoying device it is—off. What’s more, just because marketing agencies and sales people have made December 25th a celebration of shopping doesn’t mean that you have to as well.

Yes, I know, it’s hard to buck the trend, and hard to listen to your kids beg for more and more and more, and not give in to them. But you know what? Giving them everything they want isn’t necessarily doing them any favors at all.

In the end, it’s up to my husband and I what kind of Christmas we have. It’s our decision how we celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.

I asked my daughter recently what her favorite memories of Christmas were. And do you know what? It wasn’t any one toy she recalled, or the year she got two of a particularly wished for pricey item (one from Santa and one from her grandparents.

She says her fondest memories are of “Christmas morning breakfast” – an extravaganza of bacon, eggs, sausage, hash browns and pancakes, all served with two kinds of juice—a menu offered only once a year, and, just as rarely all of us sitting down together to eat it; and Christmas dinner, when we’d either go out to family or have family in.

Breaking bread with family and friends—and of course my mother’s steamed Carrot Pudding—that was the tradition of Christmas in the Ashbury household that my children grew up with.

Those traditions haven’t changed, and I guess that’s one definition of ‘home’.
How gratifying it is that those memories that were made are the ones that have endured.


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