Saturday, December 19, 2009

War on Christmas

I love Christmas.  It's the most wonderful time of the year, I'm told.  However, there has been something bothering me about Christmas for most of my life, something that niggled and nagged at the back of my mind.  I assumed it was the oft-lamented "commercialization" of the holiday.  Recently, after a good deal of introspection and foot maintenance, it came to me: I actually like the commercialization of Christmas.  What I hate is the EMOTIONALIZATION of Christmas.

Holly boughs and wreaths of pine cones in October?  Sure!  I love it.  Piped in Muzak versions of "Sleigh Ride" right after the back-to-school sales have ended?  Great.

Song about the poor child who wants to buy a pair of shoes for his dying mother so she can be beautiful when she dies on Christmas Eve?  Not so much.  I LOATHE this stuff.  I mean, I really do.

Some of what could be called "emotional" Christmas fare is stuff I love.  There is a book by Fannie Flag called "A Redbird Christmas" that I really love and read every year.  I own five different movie adaptations of A Christmas Carol: The Muppet Christmas Carol, Mickey's Christmas Carol, Scrooge (the musical w/Albert Finney), A Christmas Carol (Patrick Stewart version), and Scrooged (Bill Murray).  I watch It's A Wonderful Life with great enjoyment as often as I can during the holidays; in fact, I have been known to cook a full turkey dinner and watch Christmas movies in July, just because I wanna.

That's fine.  Here's what I don't like:

I don't like Lifetime movies about how the magic of Christmas makes an emotionally distant and abusive parent or romantic partner suddenly perfect.

I don't like ABC Family movies about how the magic of Christmas helps some sad (but staggeringly beautiful) single woman finally find true love under the mistletoe.

I don't like Folger's commercials in which the magic of Christmas combines with the aroma of coffee to ensure complete peace among extended family.

I don't like "Very Special" episodes of cheesy sitcoms, in which a character sings "O Holy Night" and the husband and wife realize they shouldn't fight because It's Christmas.

But enough of what I don't like.

I love seeing my family.

I love dressing my kids up in festive holiday wear.

I love spending too much money trying to find something to make Sven say, "Wow!"

I love baking pumpkin bread and orange cranberry bread and cookie cakes.

I love lighting the Hanukkah candles at my cousins' house.

I love hearing Princess singing "Belize Knobby Nut"* along with Jose Feliciano.

I love the lights on all of the houses, including our own.

I love watching "A Christmas Story" 4 times in a row while my turkey cooks.

I love rolling my eyes when Princess asks if she can watch Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer "one more time and that's all, okay?"

So I just avoid that maudlin, sentimental stuff.  Christmas comes but once a year for several weeks, and it's just wasteful and unnecessary to waste it dwelling on what I don't like.

Oh, dang, there's that Folgers commercial again....

*Feliz Navidad


Kristina P. said...

This is why I celebrate Kawaanza.

Joanna said...

What about "The Nightmare Before Christmas"? It's both commercial and sentimental.

Barbaloot said...

Okay-I agree with you on most of this stuff, especially the yucky Christmas Shoes song. Gross.

But ABC Family? C'mon-I LOVE those shows:) Cheesy Christmas unrealistic romance is just what I need this time of year.

Debbie said...

I am with you! That shoes song makes me feel very ill. And those other emotional things too. Great post.

Glenene said...

Amen. Especially about the shoe song....

CMGould said...

The worst one was an episode of Full House when they got stuck in an airport on Christmas Eve.... UGH enough cheese for a year's worth of nachos at Minute Maid Park!

Boy Mom said...

Every year at the elementary school Christmas Sing I get a bit nauseated over the Ccccup, of HHHHot CCCCocoa song, I leave wanting to punch a mall Santa in the crotch.

Yumm, I want your recipe for orange cranberry bread. It'll be delightful with a cup of Folgers.

Josmery said...

and therein lies the problem: you don't treat people nice b/c it's Christmas... the whole point of Christmas was to celebrate Christ's birth...CHRISTmas. But, you can't talk about God now. So instead we make it about what Christ stood for--love. But, His kind of love is too life-changing, and doesn't include buying expensive things to cover the fact that you don't give a rip if the person you're buying it for drops dead. So we make it a fake love. Yes, a capitalist love. A love that makes you feel guilty. That's much better. For sales.