I’m No Scrooge – Here’s to Christmas/Holiday Traditions!
Everyone has holiday traditions, even if it’s something like eating a ton of candy canes or going shopping on Christmas Eve. When I was a kid, my brother and I would get so excited when we could help my parents decorate the tree, and I always looked forward to hanging my favorite ornaments front and center where everyone could see them. I used to love holiday songs, and I couldn’t get enough of my Johnny Mathis Christmas cassette tapes. I remember anxiously awaiting the night when our parents would take us to see all of the lights and decorations on Lehnertz Avenue in Aurora, Illinois…and when we finally got there, I could hardly contain my excitement. Every aspect of Christmas seemed to be so magical and surreal back then, and I used to get such a thrill when I thought of all the awesome things I’d get to do and see during the month of December. However, my current holiday traditions differ quite drastically from my childhood ones – they contain little to no “magic” – and that saddens me.
I’m not a Christmas-hater, contrary to what you may think from my first blog post about the holidays; I am more of a Christmas-resenter. I don’t know what happened to make me resent Christmas, but eventually I lost interest in it. It became more commercialized as the years progressed (even though it was ALWAYS commercialized, you have to admit it’s almost overly so at this point) and the holidays turned into “How much money should we spend on so-and-so this year?” instead of “Who is coming to Christmas dinner this year?” THAT’S what bothers me about Christmas – that our concern shifted from family-oriented to money-oriented, and that pro-materialistic ideals were shoved down my throat all the time. It seems that our priorities migrated from wanting to spend time with family to wanting to shop (and to wanting to get those good deals). I love getting good deals as much as the next person, but I can’t help but wonder if that’s the only reason people concern themselves with the holidays lately. I believe this aspect may be the reason that Christmas has lost that magical touch for me…or perhaps I just don’t remember this overwhelming “BUY BUY BUY” mentality of the season from my childhood?
I may not listen to my Johnny Mathis tapes anymore and I may not make a special point to drive around looking at the lights, but part of me still gets excited about Christmas. Do I hate seeing decorated trees and Santa Claus dolls in October? YES. Do I hate seeing them in December? NO. I can’t help but feel a glimmer of happiness and nostalgia when those colorful lights catch my eye, when I see a Santa Claus, or when I hear a good rendition of “Greensleeves”. But no matter how hard I try, I just can’t bring myself to that same level of excitement that some of my relatives, friends, and peers express. I try my hardest not to come off as a Scrooge or as a miser, really I do! And although different from my childhood activities, my current holiday traditions include firing up my Mickey Mouse Christmas Village, putting up my little fiber optic tree, baking my favorite sugar cookies, watching “It’s a Wonderful Life” with my family…and MOST IMPORTANTLY, actually being with my family during the holidays. To me, that’s the most exciting part about Christmas. Black Friday deals may come and go, but getting to spend time with the ones I love is more important than anything else. It’s not the midnight shopping madness or the brightly-wrapped gift under the tree that gets me in the mood for Christmas – it’s the people who are dearest to me.
What are your holiday traditions? Inquiring minds want to know!