Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Spirit

If you know me at all, then you know it takes me a while to get into the Christmas spirit... Frankly, I'm not the biggest fan of the commercialism and pressure that goes hand-in-hand with the "holiday" season. I barely have time to do the things I need to do on a normal day, let alone do all the things I need to do to prepare for Thanksgiving and Christmas! The days are never long enough, are they? It doesn't help that the retail world starts promoting Christmas before Halloween even occurs, making me feel like I'm behind from the get-go. And then the whole Black Friday thing makes me feel like I am so far behind in my shopping I'll never catch up (I don't "do" Black Friday). Pressure, pressure, pressure!

Never fear, though. I always manage to somehow rally myself and pull my Christmas spirit out the closet. I do this for the sake of my family. Of COURSE I don't want my babies to grow up without experiencing the magic of Christmas. And I must be doing an okay job of it, because they both still believe in Santa, utterly and completely. Brailey is nine years old, now, but she still believes. I love this! We decorate and we sing Christmas songs in the car on our way to and from school - our favorite cd is from Jim Carrey's movie, The Grinch, which is also our favorite Christmas movie, and furthermore one of our sacred family traditions is to watch this movie on Christmas Eve after we attend mass. And yes, let me tell you, I totally relate with The Grinch!

Which brings us to the true meaning of Christmas and two of my pet peeves...

First of all, yes, my kids know the "reason for the season." Christmas is a celebration of Jesus' birthday, and I am proud to say they carry this in their hearts. I was SO proud of Britt the other day... Someone at school told him Christmas was about "giving." And he said, "I told them 'No, it's not. It's about Jesus' birthday.'" And it upset him a bit that his classmate didn't understand that Christmas is about giving AND Jesus, which is how I even know about his conversation, because he told me all about it on the way home from school. I'm glad he stuck up for Jesus!

Secondly, my two pet peeves at Christmas... I absolutely cannot STAND IT when people put an "X" in from of -mas. REALLY?! You can't even write the word "Christ?" I love the signs you see in people's yards that say "Keep Christ in Christmas." If find it insulting and frankly, LAZY to see the word scandalized in this manner. I shared my feelings on this issue just this past weekend, as we saw a sign in our little town advertising their Christmas trees. Guess how they spelled "Christmas?" Yup, with the "X," and so I got on my soap box and shared with my family how disrespectful I find that word to be. My little B's were intrigued and agreed with me it is wrong for people to do that. (Never mind that we live in a free country where people can write what they want to - this is my pet peeve!)

My other peeve is the fact that we have to cater to the two people in the entire world that don't celebrate Christmas and thus we mustn't say "Merry Christmas." We must say "Happy Holidays." I don't understand how every business in town worries about offending the minority of people who don't "believe," yet all their merchandise is targeted to those of us who DO believe. I read the other day in the newspaper a letter to the editor from a person who feels the same way I do, and this person said the holiday is actually a FEDERAL HOLIDAY, and it is called CHRISTMAS, and thus we should have CHRISTMAS parties and cards that say MERRY CHRISTMAS. Maybe I'll try to find the letter online and post it... It was good! Brad Paisley also has a song on his Christmas cd that makes fun of the fact that we can't say "Merry Christmas." See if you can't look it up - it's pretty darned funny, but it makes clear the point of how ridiculous this "Happy Holidays" thing has become. And it brought up for me a conversation with my kids about how people aren't supposed to say "Merry Christmas," so as not to offend anyone. Sadly, my kids will never have a Christmas tree in their classrooms and get to draw a name of a classmate to buy a gift for. I feel fortunate that I was able to experience this in my childhood. Trust me, it was a great way to foster the spirit of giving, and our society would benefit more from kids doing this than simply having a class party where they get a ton of stuff given to them.

On a side note, Britt's class made "giving bags" during his "Winter Holiday" party. They did this last year, also. They put a bunch of stuff together into a bag to give to someone they see who is in need. They decorate the bag to put the stuff in, and the kids love this project. And it makes them feel good when they give this bag away. Great concept!

Anyway... I'm thankful my kids know the true meaning of Christmas. And I admit I am a bit of a hypocrite, because I love to give my children presents. In fact, I love to give EVERYONE presents - if I were rich, I wouldn't be that way for long, because I would spend it all on the people I love. I've changed a lot over the past couple of years, though, and our celebration is truly about Jesus and being together.

So, Merry Christmas, everyone! May your Christmas season truly be merry and bright and full of the wonder of the season. And may God bless you and yours!

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