It happens every year.
As the calendar tumbles its way into November I start to have little, baby panic attacks with every mention of the yuletide season. That Hershey’s kiss commercial with the little kisses shaking like bells makes me shake. The sight of Salvation Army bell-ringers makes me think less of Phoebe Buffay (she once fought for the coveted bell-ringing corner) and more of every small detail hiding on my to-do list. The party invites, the meal planning, the gift giving, the teacher gifts, the tips, the details of my middle child’s birthday extravaganza, make me break into a cold fucking sweat.
This year is going to be different.
This year is going to be fun.
I am not going to buy into the holiday hysteria that corporate America is forcing down my
double okay, fine, triple chin. I refuse to spend another holiday season like Clark Griswold.
I won’t do it.
Do you want to know why? Because every year, I stress and I cringe and I worry, and eventually, IT ALL GETS DONE ANYWAY! What’s the point of buying into the hysteria? My kids have never gone without, my family hasn’t ever missed out on the worthy and beautiful gift of hilarious memories and real love. They get it all! I get all of it done, and I won’t have their memories be of mommy, hair in curlers and a robe, running around like a lunatic because she doesn’t have red and green swirled taper candles. They get all the things and usually they still want more. That’s the megalomania that got us into this mess in the first place. “Whomever dies with the most toys wins,” and they play with it for 5 damn minutes and then they forget they even wanted it in the first place. If I get a hug or a thank you that’s an awesome bonus, and my kids aren’t even huge, ungrateful, assholes. I’ve definitely seen much worse, but they are. just. kids. This year I will keep my expectations of their happiness through material things very low.
We all have that Facebook friend who, right at this very minute, is bragging that she already has all of her holiday shopping done. I always laugh when I see these posts because not only does homegirl have to now come up with a place to hide her children’s goodies for the next 2 months, she also will find that 1 week before Christmas one of her kids will come to her with an updated Christmas list. Ruh Roh, news flash… you’re never “done” Christmas shopping. Not until December 26th anyway.
Corporate America will continue to play to our fears as long as we let them. Black Friday is the perfect example of our holiday hysteria realized. They play on your fear of missing out. The idea that people will leave their Thanksgiving tables, full of booze and triptafen, in order to get “deals” that don’t really exist is the biggest mind fuck in the universe, and this year will be no different. The day after Thanksgiving, I’ll be eating turkey and waffles in my pajamas while I watch normally sane individuals fight over ugly Christmas sweaters and gaming consoles on the news. Let’s not even think about he poor retail workers who have to leave their families to run a pretzel store in the mall so Aunt Edna can have more subsistence to knock-a-bitch-out who tries to take her marked down TiVo.
In the hoopla that is “the need to have all the things” we’ve lost the message of the holiday season, the real message. As someone who lives in a mixed faith household I often cringe when I hear people say that they refuse to answer holiday greetings that don’t mirror their own beliefs. The holiday season is just a time to magnify what we all should be preaching everyday, “Kindness to your fellow-man!” And if you aren’t someone who talks about that on the daily, then I’m pretty sure no material objects will ever really give you what you’re looking for. Every religion has this as their primary teaching, especially around the holidays, and if you think I’m going to snub my nose at someone because they greet me with “Happy Kwanza” as opposed to “Happy Hanukkah” or “Merry Christmas” you are sadly mistaken. I’ll just let my heart swell with the fact that someone thought to greet me in the first place, because we all need it. I most definitely need it because the majority of my day is spent talking to an individual who cannot yet talk back. We need to feel that connection that is the real meaning of the holidays, and I have to say, writing this down, throwing my middle finger up at all the material shit that everywhere I turn makes me feel like less of a mom, has been really cathartic.
I feel better already.
Bring on the holidays!