I love the holidays. It’s a chance to stockpile so many things to keep my “ideas for Advocatie column” notebook full. By that, I mean… family is coming.
I love my family. I even love my family that are not my own people. Family is my favorite thing about Christmas. If I had a lot of money and a B&B in my backyard, I would probably love them even more.
I don’t mind at all that my pantry looks and sounds like a swarm of locusts is in there day and night. I don’t mind that I haven’t been able to do my own laundry for near’bout a week. BUT– there is never enough time to channel my inner Aunt Bea when someone asks for the tenth time, “Are you going to let your son eat that?”
Why is it that people who eat healthy and make or invite you to dinner, cook whatever weird food they like, full of spices you’ve never heard of, and vegetables with hair, and insist you enjoy it “because it’s good for you”. Those same people will say, without hesitation, “That’s vile…where can I get some fruit?” when I have the nerve, and 14 minutes, to make a meal with the word “Helper” in it. No one’s arteries are going to fill with gravy after one serving of Kraft macaroni & cheese. Just saying.
So I’ll eat your veggie burgers and candied asparagus, because I’m polite. And fortunately, early December begins the round robin of Christmas brunches, lunches, dinners, parties, cookie exchanges, and in my case, a visit from Insulin Claus, that I will enjoy as soon as I leave the house.
Then there’s the person who wants to get up at 6am on a holiday to run a 5K. These are people you need to know about before you marry into them; a no-fun-run pre-nup! While I’m on running, who invented marathons? Okay, I know it was a guy in Greece and there was a battle. I suppose I might run in a war, but seriously, I can’t remember the last time I Googled restaurants, job sites, or retail stores, that I didn’t include “within 10 miles” in the filter. I won’t even drive 26.2 miles.
I’ve also blocked network television from my Little Elf because I just can’t stand another 30-second spew of plastic that is generally pink and really loud. Otherwise known as a commercial. Wasn’t the FCC going to make a law, like, ten years ago that required broadcasters to lower the volume of commercials from, say, 747ish to reasonable?
Unlike his mother—who watches almost nothing not recorded on the DVR, specifically so I can skip over commercials—“Hey, for just $29 you can have a toy that only has one function! There are eight in the set so you need them all! Go get your mommy’s credit card!”
Finally, and this is a general fuss that has nothing to do with my family; do we really need to call it a “war” on Christmas? Depends on what you call a war. Granted, some are upset that Santa Claus is an old, white guy, and that is exclusionary to all the non-white people who celebrate the holiday. I will stipulate that everyone is entitled to feel as they wish and I never want people to feel excluded. But, without boring you with my wiki-Christmas history, suffice to say most modern American Christmas traditions have almost exclusively come out of European history.
St. Nicholas was Greek, so maybe olive-skinned would be more accurate. But with dozens of icons to choose from to represent the holiday, can’t it just be okay that the people who like Santa can stick to the original on their own dime?
And let’s remember our country encourages us to do a lot of things as we wish as long as we don’t tell others they can’t. So hey, you don’t *have* to celebrate with a guy in a red suit. If seeing a paisley hippopotamus on roller skates will give you a feeling of hope and giving, I’ll send the memo to Hallmark to get busy on a new line of ornaments. The icons of the day shouldn’t change the ambiance and sentiment of anything.
Seriously, would anyone even think of going over to Hong Kong and complaining that none of the dragons in the New Year parade have cowboy hats? Has anyone ever asked to have more red, white and blue in the Kwanzaa stamp? No, because that’s how the people who celebrate those holidays do it. And stop yelling at Starbucks about their cup designs. If you can afford a $7 coffee, there are some homeless people at our public library who would be happy to listen to you whine about this “important” issue over a shared hamburger. Just saying.
So let’s all go to our respective corners, celebrate the birth of Jesus—or whatever it is we do around the Winter Solstice—any way we want and call it the spirit of the season, without telling everyone else how to do it too.
And that includes letting me eat my bacon-covered tater-tot waffles.