December 11, 2008

DN Article - Christmas without Consumerism

It's another two-fer today. Gee, you'd think I didn't have anything better to do during Dead Week than play on the internet. Well, I'm not convinced I have anything better to do, but I certainly do have something else that needs doing. Or so my professors keep telling me.

Holiday happiness, memories can’t be bought.



wolfie185 said...

"Fellow Americans! Stop shopping! Go home! Spend time with your families! It’s the holidays!”

I like that!!! Thankfully my family isn't big on gifts, most of us can only afford to buy stuff for our kids and now grandkids. For the last few years I have bought my parents food items they normally wouldn't buy for themselves like a good cut of meat or out of season fruits. I have a couple of friends who live on the skinny so I buy a little something for their kids or make homemade candy and take them some just because Christmas is about kids. But you are right it is far more important just sit and spend time with those we care about without having to rush away to whatever pressing event is calling us. Here is the last verse from the song "Rebel Jesus" by Jackson Browne that really sums up my feelings about Christmas

"Now pardon me if I have seemed
To take the tone of judgement
For I've no wish to come between
This day and your enjoyment
In a life of hardship and of earthly toil
There's a need for anything that frees us
So I bid you pleasure
And I bid you cheer
From a heathen and a pagan
On the side of the rebel Jesus"

p.s. Nice article!!

Samantha said...

As I said over on the comments for the article itself, great article Monica!
Be it here, or on your blog, I love reading what you write. Not because of the words, but the thoughts and feelings behind them. The feel of them. My best holiday memories always involve the people there, the warmth, love, and special time we'd spend together. Cooking with my Mom, playing hostess bringing tea and hot chocolate to people I love, and basking in the warmth. Sitting in the living room, sharing stories, the room lit only with the tree, candles, and a fire in the hearth. Apple pie, Strawberry Rhubarb, Ruggela and so much more, all home made...

Yeah, lots of love.

Thanks Monica, this was a great article.

Monica said...

Hehe. Ironically, this article contained a great deal of fiction in an effort to make it more accessible and empathetic to the general student population. I hate to cook and I never help my mother or grandmother in the kitchen if I can help it. I don't mind doing other things, setting the table or clearing away, but I really try to limit my cooking to occassionally stiring the gravy. And while I do remember always helping set up the tree (we had an artificial one), I don't recall my Dad ever lifting me to put anything on top. I intentionally painted a much more "normal" picture, because I didn't think descriptions of sitting around with my Dad discussing various science fiction novels or arguing about global warming with my mom, however fun, would bring up the images I was hoping for in my readers' minds. Glad you liked it though.

In other words, I lied. :-)

Samantha said...

Well, I still loved it, and it is my great hope folks get the central message. Lied? Nah, I think you just saw through the veil and embraced the most important parts.

Mine weren't all perfect, far from it. But it's the good stuff that sticks with me, that nournishes my soul.

I could have talked about how my father would walk around being the scrooge from November to February every year, naysaying Christmas, complaining about family, and doing everything in his power to make everyone miserable. How he'd turn on "How the Grinch Stole Christmas, play it to the part where Christmas was done, over, destroyed and then shut off the TV and unplug it, laughing maniacally "Ah, that Grinch, now he's the REAL HERO of Christmas. He knows how to have a party!"

No worries, there were years, part of holiday that I wouldn't wish on anyone, stories of years I nor anyone else ever have to live through. But in the grand scheme of things they don't stay with me. No good can come of them.

I focused on the good stuff, the memories that I keep close, life to life, the people. The "loophole" in impermanence is heart and soul, you CAN take it with you when you go. You should.

I have a tree this year, for the first time in decades. Last time I lived in a house with a tree was the house I grew up in. That was a long, long, long time ago. My tree is artificial, and with good reason. No tree had to die. No loss of life with this one. No resources being destroyed or wasted in this one. I like it that way. I've got a candle to give me the evergreen smell.

It warms my heart, brings back memories I cherish. I cook for me, bring myself tea, and remember. Christmas eve and Christmas day I'm spending with family. This Saturday I'm going Caroling with my brother, sister-in-law, my namesake and other friends and family. For the warmth of it, the connectedness, the moment of pure bliss that comes to me unbidden when I open up my soul and let the music flow.

I don't think you lied so much as tried to bring things in on point and reflect on the most important parts. The devil my dear is in the details, you've embraced the important part, the Dharma of it all, and left the rest to be recycled back into the 'verse.

Good on ya! You get it.

Merry Christmas Monica!