I’m Dreaming Of Something Other Than a Wet Christmas

24 12 2008

Showers / High 51° F / Precip: 60%
Considerable cloudiness with occasional rain showers. High 51F. Winds S at 10 to 20 mph. Chance of rain 60%.

Figures.

This is a Maryland Christmas. We don’t get snow. Sometimes we don’t even get a wintry chill. No, we get this asstastic middling temperature range and an overcast gloomy sky and a ton of water plopping to the ground. Yay. The actual snow comes in February, when nobody really wants it and nobody really cares.

Despite this climatic shortcoming, despite my religious agnosticism, despite everybody in my family knowing exactly what we’re getting as gifts because we all draft up specfic lists and don’t bother wait until tomorrow morning to open ’em… I really do love Christmas. I love the aura around it, the goodwill, the hope and cheer, the charmingly antiquated music. (Bing Crosby goes well with melting people with a flamethrower, I discovered last night in CTF_2Fort.) It’s a bright spot in the year.

Is it commercialized? Heck yes. I kind of admire that, actually. America’s taken a primarily religious observance and made it into a universal concept, one with trappings very distant from its roots which becomes more of a cultural standard than anything else. And on top of all the gifting and candy canes and lighted trees, you can still observe the actual religious date in the manner of your choosing; one does not preclude the other, no matter what War on Christmas types want you to think. Everybody wins.

And while the primary goal for some people is to stimulate the economy, the upshot of that is getting something nice for the people you care about — and in the ideal union of circumstances, that doesn’t mean have to mean zillions of bucks spent. It just means a gesture of love and appreciation. Yes, some people take it way too far and trample each other in an effort to get the latest Molest Me Elmo, but that’s just as extremist as people who refuse to buy anything… in my world, my Christmas, there is a harmonic balance. Works fine for me.

In the end, this is about everything positive and nothing negative. It’s about family and friends. So, thank you to all you guys. Have a good one, I say, as I’ll have a good one. I’ll ignore the raindrops on my window, listen to XM’s seasonal radio stations, monitor my work email box for the few stray items that might come in despite the office being a ghost town, and simply enjoy the season.

Oooh, and maybe I’ll watch the Invader Zim holiday special. Bow Down Before His Jolly Boots of Doom! o/~

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13 responses

24 12 2008
jengagne

I sometimes do wish Christmas were more secular, the secular PARTS of it I mean. Like Santa Claus, the tree decorating, pretty lights… you know, all the parts that basically have nothing to do with Christianity. ;)
Kinda like Halloween is technically Christian only totally not. They’re both really fun decorating holidays, and Christmas has the added “hey family get together” aspect.
Then anybody could enjoy Christmas without the “Oh no I’m supposed to be at Mass” guilt aspect.
(Not that that stops some people; I was passing acquaintances with some local lesbian witches one Christmas, and they always have Christmas and even call it that. They gleefully tell their son stories about the origin of the Christmas tree garland as the intestines of your enemies, draped as a warning… ;)
And yeah, of course people can celebrate it in religious fashion also if they’re so inclined. I really don’t see anything eroding that in stereotypical War On Christmas style, except for the overall erosion of religion in this country. It’s part of a larger issue, I think.
The funny thing is that as Mom points out, when she was a kid, Easter was the big deal Christian holiday. Not Christmas. The commercialization of Christmas in the past half-century, and the romanticization of it in the past century (ever since “A Christmas Carol”), that seems to be what’s really made it what it is today.
So arguably it’s a war FOR Christmas (of that sort) and so far it’s winning. Except it ain’t the kind of Christmas that the “War ON Christmas” folks want people to have… especially people like those lesbian witches. ;)
And speaking of blowing holidays out of proportion, I have an amusing story to relate from a coworker. A friend of hers was from Israel and someone wished her a happy Hannukah. So the Israeli gal says, “What’s Hannukah?” and, shocked, people started to explain to her… the Israeli gal suddenly gets it and says “WHAT? You’re kidding! Nobody even notices that one in Israel! I mean, it’s a military holiday.”
So clearly people in America do want a winter holiday, don’t we… even the non-Christmas folks!
(Where’s Lirazel? She’ll talk some sense into us heathens! ;)

24 12 2008
kamalloy

Considering I and other family members have to go driving (albeit fairly locally) on Christmas, I prefer rain if there has to be any sort of precipitation. Then again, I come from a long line of weather curmudgeons. My grandfather used to write letters to the Baltimore Sun about how White Christmasses were overrated, and he’d never had to shovel six inches of sunshine off his driveway. ^_~
Merry Christmas to you and Jen and the rest of your family. ^_^

24 12 2008
cmdr_zoom

“Throw him in the Jingle Jail!”
Wet Christmas? Check. Rather inevitable, what with living in a valley not too far inland. We do get a few inches of snow now and then (as we did last week), but it’s usually gone in a few days, which is fine by me. Like other peoples’ pets and kids, I like to visit snow, not have to deal with it at home.
Sad to say, for me this season is often as much about stress and depression as it is joy and family… the dying of the year, and the hope that the sun will come back and the next one will be better. Especially this time. (For once, I’m with : 2008 doesn’t need to be kissed goodbye, it needs to be buried at a crossroads with the head cut off and mouth stuffed with wafers.)
Still, I am looking forward to tomorrow. I’m lucky to have all my family in town, even my poor father at the foster home.

24 12 2008
lirazel

The eleventh Plague — Inane Christmas Muzak!
Several years ago I started practicing the fast of Advent as a way of getting ready for Christmas, and shortly thereafter I left off with the tree and such. Coming from a Jewish family, all that was not part of my “home” traditions, and it’s a great deal of work that I didn’t and don’t feel I need to do.
I do give gifts, mostly because I love giving gifts. I could easily get addicted to giving. Such a rush!
All that is separate, though, from the annual recognition of the birth of my Lord. Which could happen any time as far as I am concerned, and which is a gift so astounding that I run out of words trying to describe it. And yeah, Easter is twice the size.
In fact, I always find Christmas to be a bit of a disappointment. Advent is all about the next time Christ is due on Earth, and that’s the present I’m waiting /working for. Anything less is, well, underwear.
Then cleansed be ev’ry soul from sin;
Make straight the way of God within!
Let ev’ry heart prepare a room
Where such a mighty Guest may come.

24 12 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Re: The eleventh Plague — Inane Christmas Muzak!
I really dig that everybody celebrates the season in their own way. Even folks who stick to the mainstream usually have little variations… traditions or emotions they go through. Everyone’s experience is unique. The faithful show their faith in their own way. It’s super swell.
(Except for the people who demand you show your faith in THEIR way, and I count both the worst of the hyperreligious with the worst of the hyperaethiest in that lot. Folks, peace, harmony, love? The whole point? Grasp it. Thanks.)
I’ve learned to love giving, too. As a kid I loved GETTING, because with no actual income it was the only way to get my hands on the consumer goods I coveted. Now I have a job and buy my own consumer goods when I want them, so when the day rolls around, I like turning things around and buying for folks instead. I should’ve gifted more this year; the season kinda bumrushed me and it was too late after a point. Ahwell.

24 12 2008
raigne

Yes. The overspending thing was an issue this year with my mother. It was great fun trying to explain to her that a MasterCard backed Debit with an $800 overdraft account is a CREDIT CARD. :x
However. I am happier this year than I was last year. Last year my mother an my aunt were fighting, so at the last minute I went over to my aunt and uncle’s house and we ate a frozen pizza and played scrabble. Not exactly the super traditional family time of my youth. But, we’re spending Christmas Eve together this year, so that should help with the winter blues that’s been the fall out from my grandparents not being around anymore.
If I could ship you some snow, I would. We had a storm last weekend and still have an abundance of it. Not quite the consistency for perfect snowmen, but close enough. Merry Christmas, Twoof.

24 12 2008
raigne

I’m not particularly religious myself. My mother’s family is Catholic, and the only mass I ever went to was the Easter one, because I like walking around the church, looking at the stained glass windows and statues and candles when we did the stations of the cross. This is probably where my fascination with Cathedrals and gothic architecture comes from.
My mother, step-father and step-father’s mother do religious observances, but they’re all pagan. I always refused to participate in the religious portions of it when I was little. The youngest girl is supposed to light the solstice candles while wearing a wreath on her head. I still think it’s a little ridiculous. :x Also, Merry Christmas, Jen.

24 12 2008
keikotakamura

Dang. I was about to post basically everything you just said, minus the MD weather report.
It’s cool being agnostic and still getting to celebrate Christmas in all the warm fuzziness it brings. I loooove Christmas! It’s a month of showing kindness towards others and appreciation for family and friends. There’s nothing wrong with some o’ that!

24 12 2008
vulpisfoxfire

Heh. Yeah, the whole attitude of ‘If you’re not spending, spending, spending on other people, then you’re a jerk and a complete loser!’ that surrounds the modern incarnation of the holiday is such a ‘positive’ thing. :-/

24 12 2008
keikotakamura

I really don’t mind it! Of course, it works out for me because the other 364 days out of the year I don’t do jack squat for my friends and loved ones. XD
One day (maybe two, counting birthdays) to go out of my way to gift people I like with a token of appreciation sounds just about right to me.

25 12 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Looking at it from the wrong direction. Which of these makes sense?
A) If you’re not spending vast amounts of your money, you suck.
B) If you’re not showing your family and friends you care about them, you suck.
For me, B is performed through A, but the POINT of it is B. I don’t do it out of obligation, or out of some weird pirahna-like consumer rage. I do it out of love. Money being involved is merely incidental.
I saw some of a “documentary” recently called What Would Jesus Buy? which was really just a massively anti-consumer piece by some mock reverend’s jokey fake Church of Non-Spending. I shut it off after the first fifteen minutes. It’s one thing to wag a finger at people who take things way too far and become the rabid buying loonies you see in the malls, it’s another to take it to the opposite extreme and say anybody who buys things is stupid.
(But what really got me to hit the Stop button and find something better to do with my time was the attitude of the movie. The dude was using massive attention whore tactics in getting his “message” out through ye standard satirical confrontational street art bullshit — you know, the kind that changes no ones mind and only serves to annoy everybody around you who are just trying to get on with their affairs. Leave the puppets at home, sit down and talk to me about the issues like a reasonable person or you don’t get my respect, I say. The dog and pony show just makes the speaker look like a douchebag.)

25 12 2008
vulpisfoxfire

You’re missing the third leg of that set, or at least the third leg as presented during the holiday season–‘Love == buying lots of stuff’. Mind you, I agree that your point B) *is* the point of the matter–I just get very sick and tired of having my nose rubbed in my lack of surplus income. :-/

26 12 2008
Stefan "Twoflower" Gagne

Anybody who rubs your nose in B is an asshat and you should feel free to ignore them. There is a difference from someone who happens to buy gifts each year and someone who is an elitist prick, however.

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