Thursday, December 23, 2010

I Think I Might Be On The Naughty List

It's Christmas Eve Eve and I think I might have made The Naughty List.

Not because I keep forgetting to purchase my step-dad his annual boxes of chocolate covered cherries. Not because I have not bothered to put up a Christmas tree. Not even because I have had hateful thought's about one of my little brother's exes. I doubt I will be on it for breaking my promise to blog something everyday from October 3rd until the end of the year.

I will be on The Naughty List because I'm sick of Christmas! I am just Christmas-ed out.

I really haven't had much time to do anything but eat, sleep and work for the last several weeks. I barely got my Christmas shopping done. Granted Santa will be leaving gifts under the Direct TV Pay-Per-View Fireplace this year, but it's done. Hey, take what you can get!

I really haven't had any Christmas Spirit this year. So little, I am certain I will soon be visited by three spirits.

When I was a kid, the Christmas season began the Friday after Thanksgiving. And not a moment sooner.

Every store would actually close for the Thanksgiving holiday. If you found a quick mart open on Thanksgiving, you were lucky. There was not a Christmas tree, garland or light string in sight. Then magically, the mall would transform overnight with balls and trees and fake snow and animatronic reigndeer. Santa would parachute into the parking lot at Eastwood Mall on the morning of Black Friday, fling open the mall doors and Christmas shopping would commence.

Now you can buy your pool floaties and sunblock on one side of the shopping aisle and your Christmas decorations on the other. By the time Christmas actually arrives, I am sick of it.

Studies show that suicides increase between Thanksgiving and Christmas and I am pretty certain I know the cause. Non-stop Christmas music. Is it really necessary to play "Feliz Navidad" every hour, on the hour?

When I was in high school, until I was about 22, I worked for a drug/grocery store. The constant barrage of Christmas music during an average shift was enough to make the sanest person consider murder. There is a particular instrumental version of "Sleigh Ride" that triggers a montage of frenzied shopping memories, that my brain prefers to play at super-high speed to match the pizzicato tempo of the strings. Somthing about that song always makes me feel the need to hurry. (Perhaps because the lyrics keep saying "Giddy up, giddy up..." I don't know, maybe?) It also reminds me of the infamous shower scene from "Pyscho."

Another thing that always seem to amaze me is the way that people change during this time of the year. People who are normally, well, normal, become the rudest, most selfish, self-absorbed, greedy folks on the planet! Just a week ago, I witnessed a fight between two people over, of all things, a parking spot at the mall. Yes, an actual yelling, cussing, hair-pulling match between two people vying for the same parking spot. Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men, indeed!

I am also amazed over what people "want" for Christmas. And how much they "want." And how much people seem to think they should be getting for Christmas, and the crazy people who think they need to buy everything anyone asks for. So much for a gift being from the heart.

Listen people: CHRISTmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. In honor of His birthday, we give each other gifts, but if you read the Biblical account, Jesus only received three gifts: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. If three gifts was good enough for the King of Kings, that should be good enough for everyone else!

In order to help my children understand that true meaning of Christmas, curb materialism, selfishness, and greed (all while stemming the tide of excessive, unnecessary crap) we adopted what we affectionately call "The Jesus Rule."

As you know, we are a blended family, divorced and remarried with divorced and remarried parents. All of my children have four sets of grandparents, and until recently, several living great-grandparents (sadly, this Christmas, we are down to only one, my grandmother). They recieved gifts from everyone. We looked like a collection site for Toys for Tots. There were some years that some gifts that were opened, brought home and never saw the light of day again. It was obvious that some family members took the "buy their affection" route, because they seemed to buy the most gifts. Sorry, money doesn't make up for lousy parenting. And the children know that now.

I don't remember who might have actually planted the idea of limiting Christmas to three gifts, but I do remember the first time Julz heard the idea. She was only 7 or 8, but when I said "three gifts were good enough for the King of Kings," she didn't miss a beat reminding us that "one of them was gold!" (so much for curbing materialism).

Then there is "Dirty/Greedy Santa." What masochistic jerk came up with this little jewel?!
I had never heard of this game until I married my current husband. My family didn't (and still doesn't) "play" this heinous "game," but it is a family tradition for my husband's. The reactions can be funny, but this "game" is far from fun. I have been told that this is how we are expected to exchange gifts. If you want me to have a gift, buy me a gift. Don't buy something that you think I might like then hope, after wresting over it with everyone else in the room, that I end up with it. Also don't expect me to use my hard-earned money to buy something that might be a nice gift, only to watch the disappointed look on the face of the "recipent." To add injury to insult, I am later told that they will be giving said gift away in the "Dirty Santa" game they will be playing the following Saturday. I personally haven't "played" in years, but after buying a gift to be given away somewhere else for the third year in a row, none of us will be playing anymore. My money is best spent elsewhere.

I wonder what Jesus would have thought if the wise men had made Him play "Dirty Santa" for His gifts?

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