This time of year used to bring out a whole other personality in me. It was like one day I was Meg from Married With Children (per the usual) and as soon as that one day after halloween came and everyone turned on the Christmas music I magically transformed into Marcy. It’s as if I had been cursed as a child by some evil witch who didn’t like my parents (and who were clearly jealous of my crazy beauty and talent) to turn into an absolutely annoying, overzealous holiday alien for two months just speeding around in a trance buying crap, cooking crap, and singing crap and then when the holiday music stopped the spell wore off and my trance was broken but I’d be in this depressed spell for a month sort of wondering what happened to my life for eight weeks.
Let me ask you something. What is it about this picture below that actually seems exciting? Who even goes to the mall anymore? And stands in lines? Do any of you actually still do that? If you do, that’s weird. I’m just saying.
My point is, I think we’re all sort of growing up now. Collectively, right? Don’t you feel it? I feel it. I really do. I don’t need to point out that its a bit ridiculous to take a week off of school and work to share in how GRATEFUL we all are for the blessings in our lives followed by two of the biggest shopping days of the year where people murder each other over toasters and televisions and xboxes, followed by another 4 weeks shopping and traveling and every year trying to one-up the year before with new traditions to holiday parties and dinners and recipes and ugly sweaters etc etc. Followed by a night where everyone dresses up in fancy clothes and goes to event locations simply to document the experience and to take pictures so everyone can witness the experience they weren’t really experiencing because they were too busy fixing themselves and taking pictures and getting completely wasted, followed by a day where we resolve to be better people.
Do I need to point out the messages we’re still sending kids about some mythical white fat dude (who is a happy, modern slave owner, by the way) who magically makes toys appear in their homes one night to celebrate the birth of Jesus (who did not own slaves, and by all accounts, is not a Sagittarius)?
Because, um, what about the kids who have parents that cannot make that happen? What about children in foster care? Do they just… not count?
What about parents bribing their children to behave for a reward (rather than being nice because, you know, it’s the right thing to do period)? Also parents threatening children with creepy miniature elves that are “spying” on them and reporting all behaviors and secrets back to “Santa” in the middle of the night just to be sure the good behavior bribe messages can really be clear?
I know… I don’t actually have to point all this out, I’m just organizing thoughts, but tell me if I’m wrong and this is no longer a ‘thing’:
- I’m so grateful and blessed but here’s a list of all the things I want
- He’s the reason for the season, but so is going into debt and creating entitled children
- Traditions are fun, but let’s make sure we instill fear in our children just to keep them in line and also…
- …separate the fact that we, the parents, should be respected more than a mythical slave owner who sends spies to watch their every move but will gladly bring gifts if they “behave” and give him cookies. – Dude. Duuuuuuude. Do you know who else does this shit? Yeah, fucking pedophiles y’all. Extreme of me? I don’t know. Did I take that too far? Just listen to the lyrics of “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
- Let’s help the less fortunate… I’m inspired to reach out to those in need during this time of year, and then post about it to make sure everyone knows how noble and kind I am …and meanwhile I am planning my epic NYE outfit and buying my VIP tickets because its gonna be EPIC and I’m going to post about that too because I want everyone to know how epic I am. Because I’m noble and epic. (it’ll get like, so many likes)
- once my kid starts acting like a brat, im going to shame him for acting so entitled and threaten to take away the toys “Santa” brought him in order to teach him a lesson because teaching him actual right vs wrong is too hard
- Im going to wait until I wake up in 2018 to reflect on how ridiculously fucked up all of this is and then start posting inspirational memes on my facebook wall, begin yoga classes (again), start taking better care of myself and resolve to reflect on my life choices…
Everything about the holidays is my theory about what happened to Donald Trump growing up. Every mixed message in the world was shoved down his throat and he chose the easier way because he could. Because he was a white privileged brat who, by all accounts, got everything he wanted and never had to worry about or experience anything that others had to endure and struggle through, and so therefore anyone else who suffered, but him, was simply an entitled asshole with a "poor me" mentality. And welcome to white America.
I saw a Land Rover commercial the other day and wanted to smash our tv because of it. The message it sent because this poor white girl didn’t have a Christmas tree to decorate in her new desert home (cough *mansion*) and her parents gazed at her sadly as she put some ornaments on a cactus in their backyard while sad music played on … then you see the tail lights, then happy holiday music, then the engine revs up… and the Range Rover zooms up this snowy hill to a lit up cabin (cough *mini mansion*) in the mountain woods, and the happy white family of 3 hops out of the heroic vehicle that delivered them to their Christmas destination (and now that young teen can smile again) and they march into the cabin and its happily ever after. — Makes you need a Land Rover, right?
I just wanted to kill my television. Are people still buying this message? STOP IT Y’ALL. Stop. These are not problems.
THIS is a problem:
Regardless of your religion or belief system, here are my PROS AND CONS list for the holidays:
PROS (how you can make the most out of holidays with less stress, shame, anxiety, weight gain, hangovers and family arguments- and more personal and spiritual growth):
- Reconnecting with loved ones (You can have thousands of friends on Facebook, but at the end of the day, you’re lucky if you can find five people you would die for and who would die for you. Email them as soon as you can. Remind them that if earth were hit by a giant asteroid tomorrow, you’d take them into your bomb shelter).
- Taking careful inventory of who and what your blessings are, or non-material gifts in your life: dig deep on this one and list the non-obvious. Like sunlight, rainbows, the shape of someone’s smile that makes you feel warm, the smell of bone broth brewing in the kitchen, how your dog tilts his head to the sound of your voice. Non-material! When you practice gratitude, you don’t need anything else; nor want. The more thankful you are for what you do have, the less distracted you become by what you don’t have.
- Awareness & compassion for those who are less fortunate: it’s not just the holidays, but usually winter (and the weather it brings) that catches our attention to those who suffer through these months. Whether its without a home, access to heat or food, it brings out our compassion and generosity. That’s awesome. Keep that sh*t up. But make a goal to practice it throughout the year and come up with ways you can make compassion a habit.
- Taking a pause from modern stresses to reflect and be in the present: a solstice practice I love is to sit and reflect on the closing year and what it has brought you. Come the new year, it’s all about planning and looking forward. So spend some time to reflect backwards. What have you struggled with this year? What did you learn? What amazing things happened? What beliefs, thoughts or emotions stood out and would you like to get rid of? How did you practice your passions and doing what you love? How can you do more of that?
- Greater understanding of the non-material ways we can celebrate & appreciate holidays: sleep in, start a craft project with the kids, build forts, watch movies, laugh!
Here is a list for you to begin striking out from the “norm”. This is the crap that gets us all into trouble; whether physical, emotional, mental, or spiritual… this is what destroys the holidays and sends us on a stressful spiral of binge eating, restless planning, debt consuming, excuse-making, self destruction.
CONS (Things you create to your “to do” lists that are not a necessity for survival and only make life harder for you when you wake up in the new year):
- Shopping lists for parties, dinners, traveling, and where to get the ugliest sweater for the ugly sweater party
- Mile-long Christmas gift lists for kids & loved ones: making sure you get the right thing of whatever thing is requested, even if it takes 11 trips to 11 different stores while standing in 11 different hour-long lines. Because… if you don’t, then obviously the requesting party will no longer love you and you have failed.
- Having a meltdown because you strung all the lights only to find out one mini bulb blew and now the entire thing won’t light and you’ve got 6,000 bulbs to check while strapped to a ladder cussing out santa’s plastic reindeer.
- Running people over (or getting run over and crushed) to get a discount on toasters during Black Friday. Or better yet, sitting at home and watching the chaos ensue over the news while making judgmental comments as you fill your amazon.com shopping cart with thousands of dollars worth of cyber monday deals.
- Pinning 329 dessert, pie, cake, crumble, muffin, torte recipes on Pinterest while simultaneously stressing out over the “winter weight gain” and filling yourself full of negative thoughts and feelings like shame and guilt.
- Affirming yourself that you cannot do the holidays without egg nog, Vodka, peppermint sticks, gingerbread and creepy little cloth elves hidden in creepy places overseeing the morals of your household… because… afterall… that’s what it’s all about!
- Putting everything on the credit card: you don’t actually have the cash to buy and do and go where you think you have to (because it’s the holidays), and since you don’t actually see the money leaving your hand or bank account, it doesn’t really matter, just as long as you buy, do and go where you firmly believe you have to so you can be like everyone else.
- Clearing out the Target holiday decorations aisle… I’m doing a Pine Cone Ski Chalet theme this year!!!! Which I saw on Pinterest! Squee! And before you do, don’t forget the road rage in the parking lot involving 12 minivans decked out with reindeer antlers blowing their horns over a parking space.
- Sheer panic on updating your address books, having family portraits taken, picking a greeting card theme, designing it, writing a letter about your year, addressing 300 envelopes and getting them to the USPS on time for Dec. 25 delivery. A two month long process, mind you.
- Standing in line for an hour at the “North Pole” inside your local mall, watching everyone before you force their terrified children to sit on a stranger’s lap and explain why they deserve the toys they want, then paying $20 for a photo of your kid screaming and trying to crawl out of Santa’s determined grasp with boogers and snot dripping form their red faces. Ho Ho Ho!
I can’t lie and tell you that I have not spent my entire life (almost) completely caught up and enthralled in the consumerism of holidays. Christmas is my favorite time of year, for so many reasons, but I used to think I couldn’t get the most out of it unless I had a freaking Christmas tree in every main room of the house, colored lights strung inside and out, music, candles, food and feasts, cards, photos, sweetly wrapped gifts arranged beneath a giant tree… you name it. I had to assign some kind of “tradition” to every aspect of the holidays that I began to totally miss the whole point.
So here’s the deal… you do not NEED to bake a thousand cookies and have a “cookie party” to get the most out of it. You do not need to buy everything on the list, be on time, dress up, pose for the camera flawlessly, and put reindeer antlers on the damn cat. You don’t!