Monday, December 18, 2006

Simple Christmas Celebrations

It's getting near Christmas. Are your gifts all purchased and wrapped under the tree? How are you going to celebrate?

Does the mere mentioning of Christmas send shivers up your spine? To a lot of people Christmas is not fun. I'm sorry; you won't find sympathy here. I'm just a big ol', Christmas Nelly here!

I spent the better part of the weekend enjoying the Christmas season. I love Christmas! Call me crazy. I guess I'm just one of those American rarities that enjoys the hustle and bustle of this time of year.

Yesterday, in prime shopping time, I went to the mall. Packed! Yet I didn't mind. Other people would probably hate the fact that I had to park nearly a quarter of a mile away from the entrance. Not me. I enjoyed the exercise. It took me twice as long to finding the right things and then wait to pay as it normally would yet I used the time to chat with some interesting people and take in the sights.

Maybe it's the Pollyanna inside me but the bustle of Christmas just doesn't get to me. I don't see all the bickering and the problems that I hear others complaining about. Sure, I'm not oblivious to the frustration on some faces but I don't let it get to "me". I think the stores look beautiful in all their decor and I find most people to be in generous moods: They're more talkative; I see teenage kids willing to hold the door open for others behind them; I see people digging deep into their pockets to throw a little change in the Salvation Army tin; I hear laughter and others having fun.

I guess you see what's inside you; you see what you want to see.

I also love to wrap presents. Saturday I spent most of the morning making sure they looked just right. I like to use good, thick rich paper that makes clean, crisp, sharp corners. I take hours wrapping my presents. While I wrapped mine, my sister sat at the table wrapping her gifts. She wrapped about thirty presents to my five. I guess I just enjoy taking my time.

If there is one thing about Christmas that I don't like, I'd have to say its the over commercialization. Yesterday, I caught a glimpse of a PBS documentary on how some other cultures celebrate Christmas. The simplicity and intimacy of these celebrations nearly brought tears to my eyes. In places like Northern Italy and Switzerland families spend an entire day traveling into the mountains to chop down a tree. Then at dusk sledding back down the snowy hills, in the dark, holding candles to find their way back to their house. In these small little European villages, Christmas is truly as it should be - about love, spirit, the birth of Jesus and giving. The joy and contentment on a child's face upon receiving one or two simple little presents from Father Christmas can't compare to the gluttonous display of some American celebrations.

So this Christmas, wish me luck when I receive the Movado watch I think Will is getting me and the look of surprise on his face when he opens the Tide-To-Go stain stick I got him for $3.49.



Rian said...

Grown up in a small village in the forests in the mountains, a less commercial Christmas is not unfamiliar to me. Some years we also chopped down our own tree. (But most years my mom bought one. Yes, we cheated)

I love christmas, and I hope you're having a great one this year.

Donnie said...

I enjoy Christmas too. I especially love hearing the Christmas music starting at Thanksgiving.

Have a great Christmas this year, Rick....and a very prosperous 2007!

digital t-square said...

I enjoy the family aspect of the holiday. We always celebrate on Christmas Eve night. Mass in the evening, dinner around 7, then wait until midnight for the kids to open their presents. I like the set up. It leaves Christmas day to veg and eat leftovers. Okay, I like the eating part, too.

Curtis said...

Happy Christmas!

steve'swhirlyworld said...

Very cute...I'm glad you're kidding or Will might be on the way!

Merry Christmas Rick!

Maddog said...

I love Christmast too, but I haven't always. I discovered many years ago that if you don't put huge expectations out the holiday is far more enjoyable.
So I don't expect it to be great and am always happy when it is.

Anonymous said...

We used to go out in the forest to cut our trees down, trudging thru the snow to get the perfect one. And celebrating Christmas on Christmas eve, just the family made it more special, whether the gifts were over the top that year or just the basics. I wouldn't trade my childhood Chrismas's for anything in the world.