Renderking Fisk Goes Over The Top This Holiday Season With A Harsh
Criticism of The Holiday Season And Tries To Narrow Down What The
Season Should Mean.
Drop The Credit Card... and Nobody will Get hurt!
Special Notice to my extended family, don’t get me anything for
Christmas this year. Gifts for this time of the year doesn’t make up
for the fact we haven’t seen each other for the other 364 days. No
offense, there isn’t anything I want from you people that you could
find in a store, on-line or in the back of your closet (otherwise known
as “regifting”.) Zero means nothing, folks… not even so much of a
Christmas Card. If you feel the need to actually get me or my family
anything, just put a photograph of yourselves in an inexpensive frame
for our wall, but I don’t want to see it or hear from you people until
AFTER the holidays are over. I’m serious about this.
Here’s the explanation for my sour holiday mood, I don’t want to be
responsible for you folks going to the stores and stressing out for
what to get my family and me for the holidays. I don’t want to be the
reason why you’re stuck in traffic, fighting your way through the malls
or through crowed isles looking for the perfect gift that will look
great next to the other “perfect gifts” in my basement gathering dust
while waiting for the lawn sale my wife always promises we’ll have. I
don’t want you to waste your time, effort or gas for me or my family
this year. No books, no gadgets, no DVD’s, no clothes or no gift
certificates. I’m not kidding.
The only thing I want from you people is for you to take the time
you would have wasted by wondering what either I or the rest of my
family might “want” for Christmas and do something better with what
hours you have before December 24th.
- Take that time to go to a concert,
- Decorate the house.
- Go caroling,
- Read Charles Dickens “A
Christmas Carol” out loud to each other (or have Patrick Stewart do it…
it’s already on CD or Audio Cassette).
- Go sledding or play out in the snow.
- ANYTHING you want to do during the holidays but don’t have the time.
Now, getting back to the photograph I mentioned… take it while
you’re doing one of these holiday activities. My gift to you folks is
the opportunity to make a holiday memory you’re going to WANT to
remember, a memory that has nothing to do with shopping, traffic, or
the high debt.
Christmas isn’t about buying things or shopping, Regardless of the
mixed messages you get from the television. The mixed message is the
show about a character who learns the REAL meaning of Christmas while
the commercials tell you to ignore those messages and go for greed…
your greed, your family’s greed, and make sure you buy something for
the everyday people in your life. Spend, Spend, and Spend… Worry about
the Debt later… Cause Visa is Everywhere and Everything you want under
the Tree, Master Card you way into a second mortgage… that’s the
picture they REALLY want you to see.
For my sake, ignore it. But, again… it’s not about me.
Here’s some rain on your holiday cheer from your favorite Grinch in
a fedora, by the second week of the holiday season (Two weeks after
Thanksgiving, with two more weeks to go before December 25th,) I’m sick
of holiday decorations. The Faux-Santa, fiberglass Frosty, the plywood
cutouts of Rain-deer… all of them. Two weeks before Christmas I can’t
stand to see them anymore because I’m burned out. I’m good for only two
weeks. Colored or white lights are a totally different story; they
should be up all winter for the first few hours after dark to help take
the edge off the depression that accompanies from the shorter daylight
hours. But the holiday decorations that have nothing to do with
Christmas, I’m through.
Maybe I’m too much of a Scrooge, but I’m only good for these
decorations for exactly 14 days. Granted, I love to take my own
decorations out and set them up because each one brings back a holiday
memory from years past, as if Jacob Marley’s associates are paying me
an early visit with the spirits of Christmas Past. I love the smell of
a fresh cut tree that fills this house, the anticipation (and the
stress) of untangling all the lights and checking for burnt-out bulbs,
the taste of Egg Nog flavored everything (from Coffee to breakfast
cereal). But even in my own house it doesn’t that last long.
The cause of this is the holiday hype, the not so subtle messages
by the marketing ghouls to remind us to spend our way into high debt
and an early grave paying it off. Earlier each year the decorations in
the stores go up, the day before Thanksgiving in some areas, the day
after Halloween in others, only to entice you into spending money you
really don’t have so that people you don’t know can become more
wealthy. News stories remind us that the retail stores depend on high
holiday spending to help stimulate the economy, guilt that if we don’t
buy enough tacky junk or become gluttons of this years pop-culture
“must have” item, then we’re not patriotic enough. The message is
These holiday decorations also have very little to do with the
nature of the holiday. What’s the meaning of Christmas? Santa Claus,
elves and Rain-deer? A magical talking snowman? Nope, the vast majority
of the Christmas decorations have very little to do with “Peace On
Earth, Good Will Towards Men...”, which might explain why I tire of it
Two weeks ago, just before we both settled on getting something for
the house that we actually needed, my wife asked me what I wanted for
Christmas. Trying to be thoughtful, I asked her if I could think about
it. Thoughts ran through my head, a new fedora, new leather jacket, a
few Humphrey Bogart DVD’s I’ve wanted for a while. Then I asked myself
about what could I ask for that would make this holiday really special,
something lasting which would help us to remember this year for a long
time to come.
I can remember the years before when there was something that I
REALLY wanted, the wanting was so intense that I lost sight of those
around me, the special events that I went to with my family, the
special church services… it wasn’t until after Christmas when I started
to think about others and those around me. Either I got what I wanted
and it didn’t make me feel as “complete” as I thought it would, or I
would be disappointed when the item didn’t show up under the tree. What
did the “wanting” do for me?
This year I wanted it to be different. I want for my boys and my
wife, nothing for myself. Not because I’m trying to be a hero, but
because I don’t want this holiday to be about me. Here’s a news flash
for those of you reading this… Christmas isn’t about me, or you. It’s
not even about The Church, but about the hope that The Church was built
The true meaning of the holiday has nothing to do with the gifts
you’re buying, the thing you have your heart set on that you hope
someone close to you will get for you. Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanza… what
ever you celebrate around the winter Solstice has a deeper meaning.
During The Great Depression and World War II, they might have known
better because of the circumstance. When we look at pictures depicting
Christmas of that era or the Victorian era before it, we feel lonely
and we wished we belonged there. They have it right in those pictures,
even if overly idealized. Those pictures of the holidays have something
in common; it’s the sense of wonder and togetherness.
The True meaning of the holiday is a loss of self, a sense of
family and belonging to something bigger and better then our selves.
The holidays should be the time when we achieve our promise, and we
desire the sense of hope to last all year.
A man that I worked for in my Teen years said it best when he said
he celebrated Christmas because it’s the one day of the year when the
world is at Peace. He’s right… and if we can try it for one day,
couldn’t we try it the other 364 days out of the year? Or at the very
least, meet our friends, relatives and neighbors half way… instead of
trying to make up for it with gifts we might not be able to afford once