Whether one observes a secular or religious Christmas, we are all bombarded each year with messages – both subtle and gross – to buy, buy, buy. It’s no different this year, except that the vast Christmas machine seems to have shifted into overdrive. Watching the evening news over the last week, I note a recurring emphasis on the fact that most major American retailers had the worst October, saleswise, since 1969. While this is certainly newsworthy, the extent of the coverage betrays an array of underlying “details”– (more…)
Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’
Posted in SIMPLIFY!, Traditions, tagged anxiety, charity, Christmas, commercial, commercialism, FAMILY, gifts, Joy, meaning, money, Presents, simplification, SIMPLIFY!, stress, togetherness, tradition on November 9, 2008| 2 Comments »
Posted in Information, tagged anxiety, Arts, Bellingham, calendar, Christmas, CHRISTMAS TREES, Crafts, drinks, economy, FAMILY, Festivals, festive, food, games, holiday, KIDS, Music, ornaments, plays, recipes, saving money, SIMPLIFY!, stress, Western Washington on October 8, 2008| Leave a Comment »
I know that October 8th may seem rather early to debut the Christmas calendar for 2008, but the fact of the matter is that some of the ticketed events are already selling seats – and it wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to bring the calendar online after these have sold out. Surprisingly, however, one very big holiday event kicks off before the end of this month – namely, the Tacoma Holiday Food and Gift Festival, to be held at the Tacoma Dome October 22-26.
As with last year, there will be a strong emphasis this year on discovering and listing free and low-cost events throughout Whatcom County and greater Western Washington that the whole family can enjoy. This is in line with the general theme of this site: simplifying Christmas, and creating pleasant and memorable experiences in the place of pre-Christmas stress and a post-Christmas flat wallet.
Events with a price for admission will of course be listed, as well – there’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the producers of an event asking that a production or festival be supported by the attendees (although I must confess that $184-$450 price tags on a family-of-four admission to a certain time-honored production this year strikes me as near-larceny).
From now until Halloween, I’ll be very busy behind the scenes, here, gathering material for the site, and discovering even more events to populate the calendar (there’s a whole lot out there). Before I close this post, though, I’d like to ask you to keep the following phrase in mind: Ornament is for joy. Christmastime is a season of ornament, and has the potential to be a time of real value, of real joy, rather than a time for superficial affectations of joy and a closing value that can be summed off of gift-receipts. But it’s up to you. If you’ve turned the holiday season into a finance-straining, nerve-shattering experience…well, it’s your own damned fault. About that, here’s some good news: it doesn’t have to be that way. You can make it better; you can make this very Christmas one to remember fondly. And I can help you with that.
See you on November 1st: All Saint’s Day!
Some YouTube wag made this as a reaction to Fox News’ coverage of the “war on Christmas,” but it serves equally well as an illustration of why you might consider not tuning into the news for at least a day or three before Christmas. Not just FOX news – any news. If you want to be merry, that, is.
I’m not suggesting you put blinders on, here,* but all the problems will be there for you to tune into after Christmas is over. Christmas only comes once a year.
*In some instances, watching the news can be akin to actually putting blinders on – especially when listening to “spin doctors.” And I’m not talking about the band.
Ultimately, Christmas isn’t about what you buy, or what you get, in material terms. A lot of people believe otherwise, but the fact of the matter is that ten, or twenty, or fifty years down the road, the memories will be what stand out, and even the gifts that remain in your possession will be intimately tied to those memories. The same is true for the people who receive gifts from you.
It’s about experiences, and you have a part in the shaping of those experiences. Good experiences make for good memories; bad experiences leave a sour taste in our mouth on New Year’s Day (a New Year’s hangover may add to that, as well).
It’s hard to have good experiences when you’re stressed out to the max, isn’t it? So, I ask you: is this going to be another Christmas where you follow the same pattern you always have, suffer the same anxieties, and maybe pick up a bit of good cheer on the luck of the draw?
Try simplifying, and enjoying the holidays. Make it about experiences, and not about “stuff.” You have nothing to lose but a big credit card bill, a big headache, and maybe even a heartache.
On Christmas Eve, we gathered, merrily.
Father offered a prayer to whatsoever powers that be.
Then we ate the fare,
‘Twas a toast of wine,
And after dinner I dreamed of
Far places and things divine,
I’d love to see,
In a storybook under the Christmas tree.
On Christmas Day, I was up before the dawn.
Seeing what that happy supernatural man
Had brought me, from the Great Beyond.
It was many years ago, and very far to see,
Brother, sister, and me, in a
Storybook under the Christmas tree
I’d love to be.
– R. Dean Brock, “Christmas Storybook”