"Merry Chirstmas, Merry Christmas, but I think I'll miss this one this year..." -The Waitresses
I grew up in a family whose concept of Christmas was purely a social tradition. If my mother ever took my sisters and I to church I don't remember it. If we ever said grace on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day it is locked away in some battle scarred area of my brain. I don't remember a lot of discussion in my family about the birth of the savior, or Joseph and Mary, or the three wise men. Here is what I remember:
I remember a house filled with family and with love. I remember not liking most of my presents the day after but loving the fact that we would all still be together. I remember my grandfather driving down, usually with some other family member in tow, whether it was Aunt Lucy, or Muggy, or Smiley was really incidental, family was family. I remember him being there every single year until I was 18 and started doing Christmas on my own. I remember feeling like Christmas is really here when I am with my family.
I have worked in retail, or in customer service every years since I was 18 and for a couple before that as well. I have learned, or maybe been trained, to detest Christmas. A couple of years ago I was working in a rugby store that sold their goods online. I was the customer service person, and this year a woman made a mistake in her order but refused to acknowledge that she might have. She chewed me out and then told me that I was ruining Christmas. For the last couple of years I have worked in customer service for a theater that stages umpty-ump million performance of Christmas Carol and I think that I get tired of Christmas because I start to stress out about it so soon.
The thing that I have noticed as I watch myself reflected in others is that there is too much of an emphasis put on the material end of Christmas. And I know that I am not the first person to say this, or that I am not the first person to commit it to paper but I think that the more people say it, the more we can break the stranglehold that the Commercial nonsense holds on the event of Christmas, in whatever capacity you celebrate it.
So going forward my goal is to take my memories of my Christmases: the love, the family, the fireplaces, the warm backs and sleeping in, and try and project that forward. So, on Christmas, or Yule, or Midwinters' Eve or whatever it is that you celebrate, I will be thinking of you.