Dec 31, 2009

Christmas Rants w/ Guilt and Cookies

This week has been crazy, I wanted to sit down and BLOG right after Christmas but the hustle and bustle of the season swept me away. As I sit here and write the word “Christmas”... I pause...Is that okay to post? Is it politically correct to say Christmas? I hope I don't offend anyone!

Then I stop and think about how absurd it is that I'm actually thinking this! So here goes my Christmas rant...I'm not really sure exactly when it started but we are now being programmed to stop ourselves from saying “Merry Christmas” and now say “Happy Holiday’s.” The change is abrupt and we stop mid-sentence. I find that sometimes I end up in a awkward stutter as I try and redeem my comment. My desperate attempt to be politically correct comes out in a broken mess
“Merry Chris…ugh….Holidays” <---its completely embarrassing

I am Catholic and I celebrate Christmas. I believe in Santa, candy canes, baby Jesus and Christmas Tree’s (not necessarily in that order). Just because this is what I believe, do, and practice, does NOT meant that I think ill of any other religion, belief or holiday traditions. When I say “Merry Christmas” to the bank teller or post office clerk, I in no way intend to offend them and/or project my beliefs onto them.

Maybe because when I was in growing up and attended public school we freely said the "Pledge Of Allegiance" every morning and wished one another “Merry Christmas” before our schedule “Christmas Break.” I am only 20something– it was not that long ago, and as far as I can remember, no one dropped out of school because they felt morally offended by the word Christmas, the American Flag or Santa and his elves.

In just a short time our society has become extremists. We try to include all beliefs and exclude any particular aspect that is indicative of just one. I.E.

A friend of mine is a teacher in a public school. She informed me that the only acceptable decorations she could hang in her classroom were snowflakes and snow men. Candy canes were even marked as inappropriate, because, at one point in time they represented a shepherd’s staff, which, in some twisted way makes them a religious icon.

It’s all so bizarre– last time I checked they were just candy.

It has got to the point that it’s just easier to not acknowledge the season. Rather than feeling guilty about maybe offend the bank teller, I just smile and say “Have a nice day” completely and utterly ignoring the holiday season. Now this just defeats the whole purpose. How the hell are we supposed to spread the cheer if were too gun shy to even mention it. We set out to include all, but we end up just forgetting the whole thing.

The whole dynamic makes me sad I think that it is ridiculous. Everything is so watered down that the specialness is lost in the shuffle of shopping and it’s all becoming generic. In an attempt to achieve ultimate politically correctness we ignore that this country was founded by Christian’s and that our money has had “In God We Trust” inscribed on it since the countries birth. Yet now, we have to monitor ourselves so that we can carry on the joy of “the season” while pleasing everyone? It’s absurd and unattainable.

On the Holiday greeting scale and on a personal scale…it’s impossible to make everyone happy. I think this idea of inclusion and unity is wonderful. I would not want ANY one group of people to feel outcast. Yet I’m scared that this is yet another example of how quickly we are falling into the “You know what they say…” category. (If you have read my earlier posts you know how much I despise “you know what they say.”) The problem is that, we, society, have grown so preoccupied with not offending others that we have stifled ourselves.

Not only are we stifling our own beliefs and traditions (which is taking away any uniqueness and individuality) but we are stifling ourselves!

Christmas is a time when there are many extra things going on...

baking, shopping, wrapping, card writing/sending, visiting, and exchanging.

In addition to the seasonal extra’s there is the regular...

work, school, bills, relationships, responsibilities and prior obligations.

It is festive and fun, but can be exhausting. When the two are mixed together it can make for a very hectic time. A time where we tend to spread ourselves thin. We try and accomplish everything and be everything to everyone.

We want to go to both parties so we half our time. We want to have enough cookies so we double the recipe. We want to see both sides of the family so we over schedule. Ugh just the thought of all the running around is exhausting. In the midst of the craziness we lose sight of the good things. When we can’t please everyone (because there is just too much going on) we feel guilty. We hate to leave the party early, feeling guilty, even though we know we want to see the second group of friends and relatives.

We do, what we have to do, to “make it work”... but we carry the guilt, along with the cookies and presents throughout the whole process.

I think it would be nice if with all of the extra tasks during Christmas time that we could exclude the guilt from the equation. The feeling that we “have to do something” makes the whole thing very unpleasant. At the same time, sometimes I think that the guilt is a motivator. That feeling of “I have to” is what gets us off the couch and in the car onto our next destination.

It’s impossible to not feel torn in many directions and feel guilt about our inability to clone yourself and “do it all.” But maybe as long as we know this….its okay that there is no solution. Maybe we should just move for a post “Holiday” break. A few days where we are all forced to shout out our own greetings (whatever they may be), not attend any functions, bake any cookies, host any parties, or shop for any presents. We should get a break in the action, an opportunity to enjoy the true meaning of the season and not rush through it or water it down.

If we wanted to insult/offend different beliefs we could think of something much more direct and offensive than “Merry Christmas.” So, I think we should shout out whatever greeting we want during the holidays…we all have bigger fish to fry!

In an attempt to include the many, remember not to exclude the originals… like ourselves. If we approach the holidays like a list of things to accomplish we miss the whole point! So find a moment for yourself and enjoy it without any pangs of guilt or pressures to please everyone.


"Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself." - Michel de Montaigne.