It’s that time again. The holiday music in almost every public space, the good-natured laughter among friends, family and co-workers, the heightened utility bills from decorations, and ridiculous crowds of people rushing to purchase gifts in time for people they may or may not prefer to be around during the other 364 days of the year.
When it comes to holiday traditions, I can’t help but wonder how the practices we have now are so far from the original nature of the holidays we claim to celebrate. It’s interesting to me how things have evolved the way they have, and I have to wonder if we are doing things this very moment that will change the way we will look at holidays in the future…and whether those changes will be favorable or further from idealistic goals of authenticity and better relationships with each other.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m no Grinch–which is even funny, since he’s synonymous with today’s Christmas culture, yet is a long stretch from the original Christmas story–but it troubles me that Christmas tradition is me going home and getting into at least two disagreements with one or more family members. Like, I know for a fact that this will happen.
Then there are the other factors of the holidays. I feel like it’s not so much about Christmas, but about family/friend dynamics and challenges. What gifts do you get for whom? How much should you spend on gifts? Whose house will it be at this year? Do you make ham, turkey, or both? Will you put up lights this year?
There is so much excitement around the festivities and preparations for Christmas Day, that I no longer feel like I’m actually celebrating Christmas itself, but rather trying to keep afloat during the tidal wave of issues that the weather and stress of everyone else’s concerns.
Traditions — I’ve written about it before. These cultural customs are evolving over time, which is not necessarily a bad thing, but regardless they should always be scrutinized, because the fact that they are tradition, should not be taken as an excuse to keep them in existence.
I agree with you that Christmas nowadays is far from what the original celebration intended, but there are certainly some positive elements. As you stated, one of these elements is family/friend dynamics and challenges. This is an excellent opportunity to reconcile with a friend or resolve an issue with a family member.
In most cases this does not happen of course and Christmas dinners usually evolve into heated argument, further escalating the issue and driving a wedge between loved ones. It’s up to all parties involved to diverge from the usual path and take a different approach this time around. Take a lesson from Housewives of New York, Bad Girls Club, Black Ink, Vanderpump Rules, or any of the Kardashians to learn how not to do it!
A whole other thing is the presents. I cringe (or Grinch) by the idea of getting a present for someone. I don’t know what someone else likes and when I get something that I like, they usually don’t. What’s the point? Besides the fact that it costs a lot of money, the disappointment is aggravated when that person did not match your gift (but that’s on me — giving should be without conditions).
I decided not to deal with it this year and take the easy path. No family hangouts, no presents, just a nice dinner at a great restaurant with my husband on Christmas Eve and perhaps a brunch on Christmas Day with like-minded friends that have nowhere else to go. Should I get them presents? Mmmm, looks like Christmas after all.
Krystal & Yako
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