Thursday, December 15, 2011

10 things Christmas Isn't

Ho ho here we are again.  A year has past and now we are quickly approaching the penultimate holiday of the year.  For some reason I've always considered New Years to be a part of the prior year. That's probably just me or maybe it was just an excuse to use the word penultimate.  As an adult, a lot of things change, certainly Christmas. This year I'm going to look at what Christmas probably isn't.  Please note that this list is more of an observation of what Christmas isn't for a lot of people and not just me.  These things do not necessarily fall in common with my own experience.  I still like Christmas.

10. Genuine - Christmas is a lot like Disneyland.  It's got a lot of attractive things about it that aren't really true.  Since this whole list is about what X-mas isn't this would probably be obvious.  But it's a little more than that.  When you are a kid, Christmas is a different place all together.  It's full of delights both vulgar and sublime.  As you become an adult, you realize that Christmas has sold out to everything everywhere.  It's used as the shill to get you to part with some of your hard earned cash.  It started with Coke and that new fangled Santa Clause that we now see as the advertising icon of the Holiday.  But it's more than that.  I don't think there is a Christmas carol that hasn't been re purposed for the sale of goods and services.  I don't blame people for trying to make a buck, but still.

9.  Charitable - Ok Mark, now you're just being snarky.  Christmas is the most charitable time of year!  Yes it is, but with that it becomes the least.  You see.  Once again there are times that we encouraged to give and donate through some money grubbing enterprise that would like you to remember them and their product as you donate.  Even under the guise of giving to the needy we give our money to those who are looking to profit from the season.  There are areas of Christmas that appear to be charitable, but really should be all year round and not just for Christmas.  Look at it this way, there are people that are chronically hungry all year round.  Giving them a feast on Christmas might not be as charitable as giving them a sandwich over a longer period of time.  On this wise, I would point out my own wife, who is one of the most charitable people I know.  Her willingness to help is extraordinary.  My willingness to help is usually much more pedestrian unfortunately.

8.  A particularly happy time for people - I remember hearing that there are more suicides around the holidays.  I don't really know if that's true and I don't really care.  I do know that for many people, the holidays just underscore their loneliness.  Now lets turn to the family.  If you are an adult at Christmas, it's a time that increases pressure for you to either go into debt, or find extra funds for the holidays.  Charity and warm feelings don't grow on trees you know.  Bottom line, it takes effort to be happy.  Happy doesn't just happen to you.  If you don't go to the trouble, you probably won't be happy.  The season doesn't really matter, it just accentuates it.  Not really my own feeling, I still like it, I just know it's out there.

7.  WARM - Unless you live in the southern hemisphere, Christmas means cold.  It is the solstice after all.  Now if you are giddy and all into the holiday, you actually welcome the cold, it's fun and it reminds you that Christmas is coming and all the fun that it is!  Or it just reminds you that things are going to get a lot more cold before they get warmer.  This isn't a bad thing as you approach the equator.  I remember living in Arkansas and sure it would get colder, but it wasn't a big deal.  You just hoped it was cold enough to stop school from molding your brain for just one day.  This of course holds no weight at all in Australia, New Zealand, or South Africa.  It's probably the hottest time of the year for them.  Which just adds to the weirdness.

6.  Productive - The effort you put into your holiday is usually subtracted from the amount of effort you put into work.  This isn't always true.  Some people don't have the luxury to relax their productive intensity during the holiday, but it does seem the month of longer lunches, extended time off and office slacking in general.  This time of year is really less productive because the time that you normally would spend on the projects of your life, you are now spending in merriment.  Now before I get the arguments of 'hey what's wrong with a little merriment?' Heaven knows that I'm the first to make that argument.  I'm simply saying that Christmas is not really a time of great productivity not only because of the holiday, but because when it gets cold we get less motivated to move.

5.  An entitlement program - The meaning of Christmas is not to become an entitlement program.  What I mean by this is when kids say things like 'Well if you get me that, that can be my Christmas'.  This presupposes that they not only will be getting something, but it needs to be within a certain range of value.  Christmas spirit could not be further from that sentiment.  I will refer you to my gift giving blog entry for more of an idea of what gift giving is about in my opinion.

4.  Peaceful - We wish peace, but with all of the extra things that are happening in our lives, there is likely not a less peaceful time of year.  If you doubt my supposition, just go hang out at a Walmart on black Friday.  The 4 horsemen wouldn't go in there.  They would put off Armageddon to some time in February.

3.  A Surprise - As Children, Christmas is a time of surprise overload.  everything is strange and awesome.  As an adult you understand that someone has to set up those surprises.  That realization is at it's most stark when you are building your kids first bike and you flashback to the first BIG gift you got from Santa (mom and dad) and why mom and dad seemed to be so tired.  It all makes sense but you wouldn't trade any of it.  Besides. there are really very few surprises that are welcome as an adult.

2.  Helpful for weight loss - Man people on a diet are a noisy whining bunch.  So if you are on a diet like I am, you look forward to Christmas with dread and excitement.  I don't fool myself into thinking that I will be staying on my diet during the holidays.  On the other hand, I don't want to loose the ground that I've gained through diligent caloric concentration. Nothing that is created as a holiday treat is good for you.  If it is good for you, it sucks. The meals around Christmas are more or less Thanksgiving minus.  This doesn't bring into account the people dropping off holiday goodies for you to eat as well.  No wonder Santa looks the way he does.  I guess nobody claims Christmas is helpful for weight loss, but sometimes it's hard to come up with 10 things.

1.  It's not the actual Birthday Of Jesus - Now I don't know this for CERTAIN, but since the holiday itself was a nod to pagans I would assume that the actual birthday came about at a different time.  For some people this is a really big deal, so I will not mention the MANY dates that are attributed to Jesus' birth and there are a bunch of them.  I will only say that the Christmas card with the camels walking across a snow covered desert might not have been accurate on several counts.

Don't get me wrong, Christmas is still a lot of fun and I love the holiday.  Just trying to come up with something different for the holidays.

As a special holiday gift to you:

Sometimes the best thing about Christmas is goofy kids.

I wish all the best of the season and a happy new year.


Bruce Holt said...

I hope that last picture is a picture of your family. It probably isn't, or I would see your brother with his accordion. Maybe your real Christmas picture is even more embarrassing. You should post it.

Macotar said...

No, it's not my family. I have no amusing Xmas photos of them unfortunately.