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Friday, November 25, 2011

I Propose Calling It: Unholy Friday

Ahhh, tis the season to sucker-punch and shove your way into merriment. Stay up all night to beat off someone else who put their grubby paws on your cherished present for the savior...Or is that just on CNN?

Every year, I (and my husband) endure the same shouted cries of shock and horror, "YOU DON'T CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS?!?" Well, we do, but not like every one else. Let me explain.

I grew up different, no question. I had Christmas so long ago, I can't even remember having a tree as a kid. My mother found a new "religion" while I was still young (something we'll go into on a later date) and I lost Christmas. I grew older, moved out and decided to celebrate on my own. I was a poor college student, putting myself through a school that cost in excess of $25K per year. The family I had that did celebrate made it all about money and bigger gifts and who got who what...I refused right there to keep up with the Joneses - my own family.

Enter my now husband - who back then was merely the boy I was dating and madly in love with. "Your mother & sister are Jewish, on a technicality you are Jewish too...why the hell do you people celebrate Christmas???" I got a shoulder shrug and a mumbled response that everyone else did...

We dreamed of having our own family, and what we wanted the holidays to mean to us. We wanted family. Not presents. Sharing and togetherness...not gimme, gimme, gimme! [IMHO: that is reserved for your birthday. A day that everyone should take time to worship you. And buy you presents. YOUR DAY!] We decided to be rebels. Christmas was going to be about family and NOT about presents in our house, damnit!

And so it was decided on a long ago winter husband and I were snuggled up, not buying each other presents, and plotting our futures. We decided to do the 25 days of Christmas, starting on December 1st. We charted out a calendar chalked full of family oriented activities that revolved around a family and being together and NOT buying presents. And every year on BLACK FRIDAY while people are harming and bullying and selfishly out there polluting a holiday in the name of "Christ" and "Giving", I sit at home with my family and plan out what events we'll do each day/night. And every year, I endure the constant eye roll, the look of shock and then see the face soften, a smile spread and a faint look of jealousy over our sacred family time.

We carol, we go sledding, we decorate a tree and make special trips to the Hallmark Store to pick out everyone's special ornament that year. We make fudge, we make candy, we destroy my kitchen & dining room making and decorating cookies. We make care packages with these tasty goodies. And we do it all as a family!

Now, the kids do get a little something. They all have 3D wooden advent calendars. Each night filled with a tasty little morsel or a tiny little delight, but nothing that cost me more than $1 (again, I REFUSE to let it be about $). Everyone has a stocking...stuffed with things they need - this year, I think everyone needs some great new slippers as our feet have been growing lately. So, they don't feel weird and do get to open something (remember, I was that kid who was ostracized growing up...spending the Christmas parties in school at the Library by myself).

Oh, and lastly - I don't lie to my kids. Ever. Santa doesn't bring presents here. All three know that Santa is the goodness inside your heart that helps you to treat others with kindness & respect - and hopefully not just during the holidays. But we also teach that the world is an amazing place because people all believe different things, and some people believe Santa is a real person - and that they should respect that and honor those feelings...and never, ever try to tell that person otherwise.

And every year, I look around to see frazzled parents who go to the mall or chain stores every day. Who fought or stayed sleepless to get someone that ungettable get. And I think of my own peace, and how my children will smile for 25 days and not just one; hopefully building memory after memory - and not just receiving some long forgotten toy.

So, this year - Please know: when I wish you a Merry Christmas or a Happy Holiday; it truly is from my heart and encompasses all of my family (which I treasure more than anything). Don't look at me strangely and judge me based upon the presents I buy. As I teach my kids...the world would truly be a boring place if we all just did the same thing. And please remember: it's the holidays...not Celebrity Death Match out there.


  1. Jesus is what Christmas should be about not material stuff..........

  2. where's the footage of shoppers beating off other shoppers?