Monday, December 15, 2008

Scrooged...

One week left until Christmas. I can't wait... for it all to be over, that is.

Perhaps it sounds rude of me to not extol the glories of the holiday season. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Caroling through snow-swept neighborhoods. Glittering lights and jingling bells. But that isn't Christmas anymore. It's a nightmare of rudeness, bombardment by family, and the worst fright of them all: American consumerism run rampant. That's right: the absurd notion that the holidays mean nothing more than getting the biggest, most expensive gifts.

The heart of Christmas is dead. In its place is greedy materialism wrapped in a phony red bow. Good will toward men went out the window with George Bailey and Clarence the angel in pursuit of some shred of hope. The little things--the scent of pine boughs, being with loved ones by a roaring fire, and yuletide feasts--are forgotten memories of a bygone era. Simple pleasures no longer exist.

It's depressing and infuriating to see people clamber for bargains, trinkets, and gadgets, pushing and fighting over meaningless objects. And that, I'm sorry to inform you, is what all these "deals" are: empty nothingness. Something to be forgotten in another month. Another toy to add to the pile and keep children from realizing they have an imagination. Another gizmo to impress people with nothing better to do with their time than keep up with the Joneses. Piles of junk that will one day line another methane-manufacturing landfill which will serve as the foundation for another useless chain store selling more of what is buried inches beneath the feet of its shoppers.

Yes, there are things I would truly like to have. But the important things I wish for most can't be found in glittery wrapping paper beneath a tree. They can't be bought or sold or picked up last-minute in the final shopping rush. Good company. A sense of belonging. Time. Love. Understanding. Just like that G-scale train set or airplane ticket to Sydney, they're not bound to appear this year suddenly on the 25th.

I live in a bitter world of materialism. Not by choice, but by surroundings. There are many good people out there, yet many choose to hibernate through the chaos like myself. I still believe these intangible gifts are out there and I see a peek of them from time to time. Yet they're the least likely gifts any of us will receive. They require honest effort, not a padded wallet. They come from the heart, not from a cold store shelf.

The greatest gift we can ever give is care. It can be as simple as the phrase "I'm sorry" said in honesty. It's telling someone how much they mean to you instead of what they can buy you. It's setting aside those few free minutes in your day for someone special. It's giving a hand to someone who needs a little help or politely opening that door for someone. The smallest efforts make the greatest impact.

Instead, I watch the crowds hurry along with blind eyes in pursuit of plastic treasure.

Bah, humbug.

9 comments:

Psychic said...

But at least during Christmas Season people manage to find the meaning of pursuit of happiness as they become vulnerable to beautiful memories and joy during Christmas.

Liam said...

Well Grinchy, it sounds like your heart grew THREE sizes today!

Dragon said...

I agree, Christmas has been made out to be to materialistic and I am far from that. I am all about being with loved ones. The best christmas present for me can't be wrapped, it is just the love and togetherness of friends and family. I use to love christmas because all of my family would get together and have fun, play games and just enjoy the day together. That is gone. So I try to hold it as close as possible with the family i have left and my new family, you guys.

no names please said...

I love you Ken. Does that mean I can return your gift? LOL I wouldn't do that. Besides the Salvation Army doesn't do returns. ;7)

artsyguy said...

Hey, sweets, as usual, in total agreement--I read you so loudly & clearly it's downright frightening. All I needed was to hear the tragedy of the Walmart employee being trampled to death on Black Friday to know how far we have fallen in this country, & I do mean, fallen. With all false sentiment aside, you indeed are probably this year's most precious Christmas gift to me....

Jeanne said...

Well, at least Christmas is mentioned. This year for some reaon I've seen only two mentions of Chanukah - one was a one sentence mention in NCIS - "Christmas is famil time like Chanukah, no?" by the Israeli agent working for NCIS
The other was a cheery reminder to get your husband a colon examination for Chanukah to make sure he had a kosher colon!

Happy Chanukah!

Liam said...

hehehe: Kosher Colon!

Jeanne said...

I know, Liam...what a lovely gift.
All I want for Chanukah is a kosher colon....

Jae said...

I understand exactly what you are trying to say and agree with your sentiments. Consumerism is awful.

But Christmas has always been about consumption and over indulgence since well before Christianity attempted to add sugary sentiment to it. And even in the recent past, think the Dickens inspired image of a Victorian Christmas, the perceived idea of what Christmas was like is an illusion. Christmas has always been like this.

It is well intentioned self delusion that makes people think Christmas "has lost it's heart". Sorry but Christmas has NEVER had a heart for the majority.

Of course it can be different and should be different. Stop worrying about how other people enjoy Christmas, and instead enjoy the Christmas you dream of yourself. Don't like consumerism? Turn away from it, we cannot demand others live life the way we'd like.

I intend to spend it with my rather overextended family, indulging myself with well cooked food as we all have a good laugh around the table. I don't give a damn about the presents really.

I hope you have a very Merry Christmas!