12/11/15

a state of want and the season of christmas

So I have a confession. I cried while watching The Grinch the other day. Like real tears streaming down my face. It happened during the scene where Cindy Lou's dad stands up for her after the mayor blasts her for ruining Christmas. It was as if I have never seen that scene before even though I've watched this movie every Christmas since it's been out. Am I the only one who one year, in their late twenties suddenly woke up out of a seeming state of sleep and went "this holiday feels like a joke"? Like, I don't know if it's having a kid of my own for the first time, or feeling a little extra frugal than usual, or living in a co-op amongst a community who value leisure and mother earth above possessions, but this year, I find myself getting more and more depressed observing all of the fussiness surrounding this season.

As I said to Lucas the other night over dinner, "I feel like a total Scrooge this year" -- I don't know what happened! I use to love everything about Christmas. But now I feel like Christmas is so basic; finding the perfect thing for your friends and family, wrapping it, taking selfies wrapping it (crop, filter, caption, post), waking up on December 25th to a full stocking, and a dozen presents to open and watch be opened, and moving along to later in the day to stuff our bodies full with sweets and fat, all in the name of "Christmas." It's like the more we talk about "the spirit of giving," the more I feel like it's a cheesy cop-out. The bigger companies have caught on to our sentimentality of the season and use it to sell us things and I feel like I'm being brainwashed to think it's all about a "spirit of giving" when it's actually just about spending more money on things we don't need for a temporary state of fulfillment and joy.

I reeeeeeally need to check my heart and spirit on this one. I know how bitter I sound. And don't be confused -- I am bitter. I think part of my difficulty with this season, is that the reality is my family doesn't have the means to go all out and 'spoil' (as they'd call it) each other. As I said, I think maybe part of my disgust with holiday consumerism is the fact that gift giving in our home is a few small doodads in each others stockings. I'm not trying to sound lowly or humble or meek. The reality is we spent a lot of money on our trip to Austin in the fall, and decided that would be our Christmas present. The reality is when you have to buy a new car seat, and have mini home renovations, and are saving up for a couch, you will sacrifice the thrill of gift opening on Christmas morning. So it's not that we don't have money, but just that we decided to use it in other ways. So partly, maybe I feel a little on the outskirts of what I would normally cheerfully join in on.

But I don't think that's all. I feel like part of my bitterness is justified. Part of my bitterness is bred from the desperateness that so many people in our world face and how that desperateness will still be there when they wake up on Christmas morning as I sit all cushy with my Baileys and coffee in my pyjamas by the tree with my family. Part of my bitterness stems from the waste; after all the stressing, and time, and energy is spent on going out, picking out, buying, wrapping present upon present, how much of it will be forgotten about. Part of my bitterness comes from wanting my son to grow up in a world where memories are more important than possessions, and not being sure if that's even possible at this point. I know this is totally the new mom in me, but I want him to embrace the knowledge that if it were not for Jesus entering in our world as a humble baby, we wouldn't have hope that extends beyond the material world. I just don't want to wake up 15 Christmas's from now as that mom who got so caught up in getting things for my kids that I forget about the mom who sits here two weeks away from Christmas 2015, penning a blog about how sad I find it is all becoming.

Please don't hear this as me criticizing people for getting presents. Honestly, like I said, I realize that a part of me is sorry for the fact I can't go out and spend buttloads of money on the people I love. Sharing is caring and it's wonderful and it's kindness and it can be a beautiful thing. This is just me venting. I'm mourning a loss of meaning in my Christmas's in the past, and I'm freaked out by the fact that I'm only really finding all of it more sobering than joyful at the age of 27. And I know I'm partly responsible for allowing myself to be compliant with consumeristic values. But it's so easy in our society because of the state of want that we live in -- especially in a city like Vancouver. It's like we want and need so much of the year, that our culture has tried to remedy it with Christmas -- "lets just have one month at the end of the year when we just buy tons of crap so we don't have to live in this uncomfortable state of wanting-but-not-attaining."

So maybe that's that. Maybe I cried watching The Grinch for the first time because being in a state of want this Christmas has caused me to think more critically about the ways I deal with those feelings of wanting. Maybe being in a state of want is right where I need to be more of the time - to bring me to my knees in realizing that what I really need is more moments like these; maybe we could all use more moments like the one The Grinch had when he heard the Whos in Whoville singing:

"He puzzled and puzzed till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas, he thought... doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more"


Merry Christmas, with Love from The Grinch

1 comment:

  1. You're not alone, friend. I've felt this ridiculous anxiety surrounding Christmas since Rowan was born, and it certainly hasn't gotten any better now with two kids. I find myself almost sick to my stomach, thinking of the sheer volume of gifts that will be piled under my tree (NONE of which will be from us, because we too have to spend our few dollars on things more important than Christmas gifts that will be broken or donated in mere months). Maybe it's a non-materialistic-new-mom thing. I'd rather my kids go without and know Jesus than have all the possessions they want and just want more. But putting my bitterness on them isn't fair either, so we buy a few books to wrap (because wrapping paper is really the main event for the babies anyway). Enjoy your family. And drink up, it will help get you through :)

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