i don't celebrate xmas. no decorations, no tree, no presents, no family gatherings. it's not part of our tradition and we celebrate our holy days at different times in the year. so i look on at the whole christmas thing as a detached observer, untouched by what's going on but sometimes bemused.
my kids never believed in santa. i didn't ever bother with that particular myth, though for some reason i did go with the tooth fairy. go figure. i still remember when one of my girls was quite young, she was telling me about her day at school. they had had to write letters to santa, telling him what they wanted for xmas. i said to her "you know there's no such thing as santa, don't you?". she gave me that exasperated look the kids give their mothers, and said "yes, of course i know that, but my teacher doesn't!"
when i stopped laughing, i started to get annoyed. not because of the santa thing, but more because of the spirit of this activity. it was all about consumerism, about what you could get for yourself, and these weren't values i wanted my children to be growing up with. i would much rather they had to write a letter about what they would do for others for xmas. and that doing shouldn't about spending money to buy things, unless perhaps for the impoverished. it should be more about helping others, service, a look outwards rather a focus on the self.
it's hard to take the commercialism out of the image of santa. the use of santa at shopping malls to promote consumer spending really doesn't sit well with me. again, we have young children pressed to tell this old fellow what they want, of course with the purpose of pressuring parents into buying more stuff. but what values does it really teach?
it's such a pity because xmas could be about so much more, and i'm sure that for many people it is. for others, it's just a stressful time or a time of sadness eg see QoT on one variation of the subject. the sadness could be due the loss of someone close - thinking especially of the families of the lost pike river miners, those that died in the fox glacier plane crash, and all deaths from illness, accident, abuse or murder. there's the sadness for those who struggle financially and can't make xmas time the perfect time that popular culture tells us it should be, those who have lost their job or can't find one, who struggle on a benefit for any number of reasons, the abandoned, the lonely.
i won't be celebrating on saturday, but i'll be thinking of those of you who are. i know that we've struggled with the posting here over the last few months, because "real" life has taken up the time for many of our writers. but i hope they don't mind if i say, on behalf of all us, that i hope you have a relaxing and rewarding time over the next couple of weeks, or at least that you find some comfort. i'd like to thank all our readers for dropping by and contributing to our space. i'd like to thank and give e-hugs to my fellow writers here, for teaching me so much and for making me think about things in new ways or even think about things that i never bothered to give thought to.
kia kaha. have a good one.