How to Prevent Christmas from Seeming Like Cursedmas
by Ralph Hedspin, staff writer
We all have different outlooks on Christmas, whether we are religiously inclined or just trying to keep our kids/inlaws/etc. happy during a hectic season when *everyone* seems to be having a good time. Or maybe it's we ourselves who need some R and R during one of the only lulls in our busy schedules. If we're movie fans, there will be lots of great holiday films to see. If we don't get invited to many parties, our chances of getting invitations multiply from mid-November to New Year's Day.
It's the stress of extra shopping, planning, and traveling that usually gets to us and makes us, in weak moments, imagine that Christmas is an evil institution calculated to make our kids disrespectful and our loved ones unable to get us the gifts that we would most like to have. Are there demons in underground caverns, watching computer terminals as their evil agents in department stores (or online) steer our significant others toward gifts we don't want? We'd never admit to having this suspicion (it would be a one-way ticket to the funny farm), but who hasn't entertained this idea in a moment of fatigue or frustration?
So, here are some guidelines for navigating this turbulent season.
- You may belong to one of the Christian sects that consider Christmas inappropriate at best and blasphemous at worst. Seventh Day Adventists and Jehovah's Witnesses take positions along this spectrum. They think of Christmas as a birthday celebration, pointing out that the Bible only mentions two people who celebrated birthdays: Pharaoh, and Herod, one of them a heathen and the other one an enemy of Jesus. All we can offer you is the thought that Christmas is not *just* a birthday. It is also a celebration of the paternity of God. There's no shortage of celebrations of God's gifts to the world in the Bible. Could this be regarded as one of them? The angels who sang to shepherds sang "Glory to *God*. Jesus was not named. Maybe there's some food for thought. Or maybe not. Well, we tried.
- Maybe you aren't interested in any of the religious aspects of the season, but you'd like to find some comfort in the world. Try signing up for a nature walk in a nearby conservation area. The trees may be dormant. They may even be covered with a bit of snow. But Birds will probably be foraging for seeds from the wildflowers that once bloomed. There will be berries of various types. You may hear mice in their burrows. Squirrels may be dashing about getting the last of the acorns. If there are evergreens -- hemlocks, spruces, pines, cedars -- you can look for cones. The trees may be sleeping above the ground, but the roots might still be growing. This is an important time for them. If trees had minds, maybe they'd be dreaming of the beautiful Spring and Summer to come. Think of the future that lies ahead. Carrying this one step further, you could take your cue from the many cultures where the festivities center around the Winter Solstice.
- Are your children afraid of Santa Claus? Do you dread the crappy music and tacky window displays in the shops you go to? There's better music at many churches and live events. For decor, visit the Fine China section of a department store like Mazey's. It's hard not to like their Christmas patterns. Jeremiah would not approve of the ornaments on Christmas trees, but can you resist a really well-appointed one? It is said that shoppers in a non-Christian country such as Japan love to walk past stores with brightly colored Christmas trees in the windows. Those same shoppers spend Christmas Eve at home with their families.
- The heavy traffic? The snow and ice? We can't think of solutions to these. Maybe this is one area in which you can help us. Send your ideas to [email protected] We'd love to hear from you. Maybe your suggestions will brighten the lives of others in years to come!
Wishing you a not-cursed Christmas.