Monday, December 05, 2005

So this is Christmas

This post is being written on pure emotion, so beware.

Why I hate Christmas.

I think i hate Christmas because I am self-sufficent to some degree.

If I want something that I do not have, I can:
a) Buy it
b) Save up for it, then buy it

If I NEED something (Like a stove, a microwave, a vacuum cleaner) then I can't ask for it because that makes an un-fun xmas gift (Please let me go the rest of this post by refering to Dec 25th as xmas, it is so much shorter to write).

Family members hound me: "What do you want? What do you want???" So if I tell them, they get it for me, and on xmas day I get to think "Oh wow, what a surprise... exactly...what...I...asked...for...."

But if you say "Dont get me anything" (Which, honestly, I would prefer) you ruin everyones xmas because they WANT to get you something.

BUT if you say "Get me whatever you think I will like" you make a huge mistake and end up getting a sweater that you pretend is nice and you never wear.

I swear, my brother is so easy to shop for for xmas. You ask him, and he tells you: "Cash".

If he doesn't ask for cash, he is very specific and thats what I get him, and no one is shocked on xmas day. One xmas he got me the star wars trilogy. Lo and behold it is what I asked for. Well, he asked for it too, so I got it for him. HOW STUPID! Thats like trading 20 dollar bills with someone.

Here are my favorite all time items that I own:
A polo shirt my sister in law got me. It is 4 years old and to this very day people tell me what a nice shirt it is. I did not ask for it, she did not ask me, and she picked it out on her own.

A belt I found at school on the ground

A hat I found at school, on the ground.

Donny Nesselroads torn up shirt he put in the trash can in the laundry room at Faulkner. I loved that shirt, now it is gone.

A free boat Josh and I share, it is almost 40 years old.

My plain ole black truck, that I bought after getting rid of a fast, red corvette.

So I am easy to please. My most enjoyable gifts are those people bought me without asking me. But, for some reason, I am afraid to ask my family to just buy something and surprise me with it. THERE ARE THE BEST GIFTS! But all xmas is now is:
"what do you want"
"I dunno, what do you want"
"just pickout something"
"youll hate it"
"no I wont!"
"ok, i need to buy a gift for 565 dirty santa parties this week though"

AUGH!!!!!!!!!!! GO AWAY SANTA!

oh, and decorations.... why is it that for 30 days, the tackiest, most awful looking decor is acceptable? I ask my wife "If it is so beautiful, why dont we leave it up year round?"

I am a mean one, Mr Grinch


bigsip said...

For me, as a grown man, xmas isn't terribly thrilling. Yes, I'm getting some really cool stuff this xmas, but I know mostly what I'm getting.

What IS cool about xmas is Luke!

Before he came along, xmas was just another chore and bore. Now, I watch every move he makes. I go outside for hours and put lights up, then I take him out to the front of the hous and turn on all the lights at once, just to watch his expression.

I do this with the tree, too!

I can't wait till xmas morning, not for me, but to see his little face when he sees the little train set and the Finding Nemo craft table we got him.

It's magical (a word I don't apply to much).

I do know how you feel, though. I still hate the money, crowds, ridiculous people at Wal-Mart, traffic, etc. But, I love to see my family together and happy and giving each other stuff, even if it is mostly expected. There's some more magic...

Jamison said...

Im certain with a kid it is 100% different.

But I feel like Brew did when we all lived together.

I would get him a gift and wrap it and hand it to him and he would ask "Why did you wrap it? I know what it is..."

Brewster said...

I feel your pain, but have learned to stop worrying and love the Santa.

At this point I have just accepted that Christmas means sharing presents.

With the wife and I, I know exactly what I'm getting. In fact this year, I will be ordering it (DVD burner) online myself. She'll make a short list and know exactly what she is getting from me too. Its really just a time we get to buy a few extra things.

With my parents I'll make a short list and get everything on it. amys folks will get me some nice shirts.

With amy's siblings we'll make out a broad list of books, cds, movies, etc and I'll get a few things off of it.

The end result is I spend a lot of money on people and they spend a lot of money on me. Why couldn't we all just buy the stuff for ourselves? Because its Christmas. You just have to accept this fact and roll with the flow.

Even without kids, I really do enjoy spending some time with my families.

bigsip said...

A tactic we have used in the past is to email my parents and Rachel's parents with two, distinct lists of gifts for Rachel, Luke and me.

Then, they can pick and choose from the list and get us stuff we want, but we don't have any idea what that stuff will be.

We always tell them to NOT get us everything on the lists, just pick 1 or 2 or 3 and let us be surprised. It has worked well and it's more fun!

mullinz8 said...

I love the spirit of Christmas. At least I loved what it used to be. Over the past few years society has continued to rape the idea from the magic and now people seem to act like dicks to each other while still putting on the facade of merriment.

The past couple of years Jules and I have downgraded the 25th to only a few things for each other. It’s now, as Sipper stated, for the boys. We did the tree this past weekend and it was great watching Isaac put ornaments on and then to watch Caleb walk right behind him and pull them off. Isaac will be getting a big boy bike this year and Santa will bring it, that’s what excites me.

I love the lights and the sentiments behind them. I love the decorations and all the rest of it. For me it’s the adults who ruin it by thinking they are slaves to their kid’s whims.

Every year we make Isaac give away half of his toys and explain that some kids won’t be getting anything this year and he is helping them and Santa by giving first.

Jamison don’t worry about all that exterior crap. Tell your friends and family to make a donation to a charity or something in your name. My uncle Keith made a combined donation to / from the family once and that was one of the best gifts I’ve ever thought of. I struggle with this because deep down I want something just because that’s what’s supposed to happen. What I really want is to know that I can help someone else have a nice day, for now I’ll start with my sons and family.

Enjoy the lights for the magic that hovers above every house that holds a small child who hopes against hope that Santa is real and will make a special trip to their house.

If nothing else enjoy it because it’s based on a simple idea that giving something is fun and receiving something is a special treat.

Jamison said...

blue xmas lights really make me feel good... there was a house in my neighborhood as a child and he had blue lights in his windows.

It reminds me of snowy nights. We have red lights in our windows, which made me think i was in a lamp warmer.

Wife has this snow-village house that has fiber optic lights on it that change colors. For a split second they go blue and i am hypnotized for that split second as I go back to being 5 years old...

bigsip said...

I like Mullins' ideas about giving. We are trying hard to not give Luke too much.

I just remember watching my cousins in South Carolina on a couple of xmas mornings as they came into their parents' living room and saw the huge monds of gifts before them.

If you'd have seen their faces, you would think they just saw the most boring hing on earth.

The kids were so used to getting whatever they wanted that they just went in and started unwrapping stuff, simply setting it aside for the next thing untill they had a pile of trash and a pile of stuff they didn't really seem too excited about.

I don't want xmas to turn into a time of "expectations". That just sucks.

mullinz8 said...

I think that I have gone through this myself. In the old days mom would get me and my brother so much that it would become overwhelming and our only focus was to get to the next present.

I love the idea of giving my boys what ever and as much as they want but I think they will eventually undervalue what they do have with so much excess.

When Isaac and I say our prayers at night, he stays up a bit later than Caleb I always mention how thankful I am that God has given us so much wealth. I use that word so that he’ll understand that as he gets older wealth should not be measured by dollar signs alone.

At least not until we win the holiday lotto.

Speaking of holidays I'm off to a "holiday party" for work.

bigsip said...

Have fun!

Yeah, kids need to learn where true value lies. I'm glad you're teaching your boys such things.

Jamison said...

Holiday party..
some folks at my wifes (and sippers) work have decided to not go to the holiday party until they officially call it a christmas party.

there is some hindu guy there and they asked him "Are you offended by a Christmas party" and he said "No, why would I? This is Christmas time isnt it?"

bigsip said...

HAHA...yeah Ramesh is cool. He doesn't care. The people who are pushing stuff like this are the atheists/agnostics.

They're so intimidated by anything that connotes God that they'll do anything to take His name out.


Jamison said...

dont go to the party Sip! My wife tells me that it is not corporate that is causing the issue, it is in your very office! You and my wife need to do some Harry Potter-esque investigating to find out who has the Dark Mark and is working for the Death Eaters and Voldemort.

bigsip said...

It's gotta be someone with religious issues. There are some weird folks here.

I'm sure there is an atheist who wants everyone to see things his/her way or something. Silly.

bigsip said...

They've singlehandedly ruined Christmas!!!

Jamison said...

then we shall multihandedly save Christmas!

Oh, there is another reason I dont care for xmas... all the stupid movies.

The old movies are great, but any new christmas movie has one or both of the following phrases towards the end:

"Christmas is saved!"


"There really IS a Santa Clause!"

and we eat it up...

Brewster said...

I can actually see the non christians side and think both sides of the argument get silly.

I can totally see how a non christian wouldn't want to go to a Christmas party. I wouldn't want to go to a Buddha party either. We had a jewish guy a few years back that asked about why we didn't put up the little hanukah candle thing. He was joking, but he had something of a point. Though the workplace is primarily "christian" it aint totally.

At the same time Christmas is so devoid of Christ anymore that it seems rather ridiculous to get mad that we call it a Christmas party. It aint like the drunken orgy that usually constitutes a christmas party is anything like mass.

But also it seems pretty ridiculous for christians to get all that upset over calling it a Holiday party. Again you aint having mass. If your personal spirituality is damaged because of what the company calls a party, then you need to do some serious soul searching.

Jamison said...

it isnt so much that christians are offended that the word Christmas is taken away, I think it is that our society is chipping away at every possible angle to rid our country of anything refering to christianity.

Sure, to us, there is nothing religious about Christmas. It was pagan to begin with and we celebrate Christs death once a week, not his irth once a year.

But whats next... and come to think of it, who ARE these "people" who are trying to get rid of all this?

All these stores and comanies are doing it because they dont want to "offend" or "single out" any possible customers... but I have never heard of nor seen anyone claim that they will refuse to shop somewhere that uses the word christmas... it seems like all these people are imagining that someone will get offended.

Considering we are the worlds most powerful nation, it is surprising that we must be full of a bunch of pussy weaklings; we let everything "offend" us.

Brewster said...

>I think it is that our society is >chipping away at every possible >angle to rid our country of >anything refering to christianity.

I'm not sure I buy this in total, and I really don't buy this when it comes to holiday parties. When the leader of our country proudly announces his "faith" I can't really feel that all of our society is trying to erase christianity.

>Sure, to us, there is nothing >religious about Christmas.

This is kind of my stance on the whole thing. Christmas isn't really religious. Its a sham. Its an excuse for Wal-Mart to make more $$ I'll demonstrate my belief some other way, thanks. Frankly I'm all for removing the name of Christ out of this holiday of greed.

>But whats next...

This, I think, is what gets a lot of people going. But I'm not all that worried. It's the same thing that got people all hot and bothered when public prayer in school got the hot seat a few years back. to me its a matter of not forcing one mans religion down another persons throat.

>and come to think of it, who ARE >these "people" who are trying to >get rid of all this?

This is a very good question. From what I've heard is it not so much buddhists/whoever being offended by Christmas as it is a weird PC cultural thing. And it offends me more in that way than it offends any kind of religious ideals in me.

bigsip said...

I'm kinda stuck in the middle on this. One part of me wants to say that xmas, easter, and the like are a detriment to Christianity because they encourage being a "christian" once or twice a year.

Another part of me says that "religious" holidays tend to remind people and some might decide to turn back to God because of the reminder striking them the right way at the right time.

So, one part of me doesn't care if it's Christmas or Holidays while the other part wants people to shut up and leave Christmas alone.

Jamison said...

In a country that has all its documents litteres with references to God, Christ, Heaven, and the Bible, it is hard to think that there is anything wrong with having a prayer in a school or a manger scene in front of a house.

Loads of idiots think that the "Seperation of Church and State" is in the constitution... it isn't. In fact, it isn't in ANY document of this country relating to the peoples rights or the laws of the land.

It was in a letter by Thomas Jefferson to some Baptist organization. What I am saying is, SO WHAT if our country promotes christianity? If I went to Thailand, would I not expect buddhism to be the religion of the day?

I find it comical that immigrants to this country aren't the ones putting up a fuss about the US being a christian nation. Jewish folks are fine with it too (My assistant is jewish, which is interesting), Hindu folks here don't care. So my question is, who IS IT that is caring? Some lawyer with a puss face in the ACLU who wants to make a name for himself?

Diana said...

Oh my gracious. I'm ashamed that I know so many Scrooges and Grinches. Christmas is not about what you are going to get from who, and how much you'll like it and blah blah blah. Christmas is a time to give to others, either in your family or in your community. Most of what I read in the previous blogs is about whether or not YOU will get what YOU want. Except for the ones with children anyway.

This year, Charlie and I are buying eachother what ever we think eachother like. We've given a few hints, but I have no idea what he's going to get me and I can't wait to see what he picked out, because I know he's putting a lot of thought into it. I'm excited because this year I've chosen his gift with a lot more love and care than ever before. I am a Christmas-aholic. Josh and Rachel, beware, because you'll get here right when I'm at my cheery prime.

I also love Christmas because people really show their true nature at Christmas. People do truely great things at Christmas, just to do great things. They buy things for needy families, their nicer to their own families.

I work at the mall, so having this much Christmas spirit comes naturally. I just love Christmas because it's like an oasis of hope at the end of a long year.

bigsip said...

Di, I'm glad you enjoy xmas...

I really just like it because I get to spend time with my family. All of the materialistic garbage annoys me, but I enjoy giving things to the people I love, so that part is cool.

I just hate to see how much commercialism has taken a family holiday and twisted it. It's sad and depressing to me when the time we have with each other should be about spending time, not sooooo much money.

I've just learned to go with the flow and enjoy the time together. I don't look at the xmas holidays as anything special other than the time I get to spend with those I love. I can take a week off for that any time. Fortunately, this time of year is conducive to everyone taking time off and spending time together all at once! That's why I get happy!

Diana said...

I overreacted, there and I apologize. I making the point most of you were making, Christmas isn't all about presents.

I truely love Christmas, though.
and I love all of you. :)

bigsip said...

Where have you been anyway, young lady?

I didn't even recognize your voice on the phone. Rachel said you never called back. What gives?

Diana said...

Surprise! I'm alive. I got out of school, so I've had less time on the pooter. I've been at work.
I did call back, it was busy.
I can't wait to see you guys in TWO weeks.

bigsip said...

Email Rachel and give us some address info. We'll probably be ther Sunday evening and leave Tuesday afternoon/Wed morning. Not sure exactly yet.

We're looking forward to it! Yay!

Jamison said...

go a walmart at 5am the day after thansgiving and see some jolly xmas spirit...

It isnt that I am concerned with what I get... it is that I am tired of being ASKED what I want. My honest answer is nothing!

so I am not as selfish as you may think.

Diana said...

I agree there are some people who come in my store who just drive me nuts at Christmas because they're shopping because they have to. But when I get a husband who wants to get his wife the nicest sweet pea giftset he can, sheesh I'm getting tears just thinking about it, it's just so special because everyone wants to show people they love just how much they love them. It really gives me a lot of hope that there's a lot of love in the world.

Diana said...

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to imply that you were selfish, Jamison, and I truely don't think you are. I'm very sorry. I admit I overreacted. That's what I do, I overreact.

Jamison said...

no worries... i am looking forward to the week after xmas, because it will be then that I will unleash the secret plan I have had in store for my wife for a month.

I shall reveal it all along with pictures (taken with my new 7 megapixel camera) for all to enjoy and for wives to get mad at their husbands for not matching my romantic skills! MUHAHAHAHA!

Jamison said...

wait, my last post sounded like I will be posting nude pics of me again... this will not be the case... i promise...

Diana said...

Besides, I can't go to Walmart at 5 AM on Black Friday, I'm usually getting ready for work at that time. I had one lady say that she waited in line at Target an hour and a half.

Jamison said...

i did this one time in front of Staples in chattanooga... i came out empty handed... the people were insane and had tunnel vision so much so that they would bump into you and keep moving without so much as a look back at you.

It was the worse display of human behavior I had ever seen and vowed to never try it again.

I cant imagine what they were like at WalMart, other than the stories I hear.

bigsip said...

I've seen people become freaking animals on Black Friday. They lose all sense of decorum and go on instinct. It's crazy!

I think we should all go back to making things for each other on xmas. Buying is too easy.

Diana said...

I don't know about big chain stores, but I kind of think that customers are the nicest, to us at least, on black friday. I think it's becaue they expect to wait in long lines. My job for most of black friday was to stand in line with the customers,talk to them, make them laugh, make sure they didn't forget anything. It's so much fun. What's truely amazing is the amount of money we took in. Let's just say I could have bought two VW beetles with that kind of money.

Jamison said...

I would assume if chains had people like you working for them, all the customers would be cheered up before going in...

retail needs more Di

Diana said...

You're so sweet to me after I was so mean to you.
Thanks, Jamison.
Well, guys, I'm off to help people shop!
Josh I'm going to call Rachel when I get off.

Jamison said...

ha! my wife has called me much worse, especially during christmas time.

bigsip said...

We will probably be at church, Di. Might have to call around 9 or to you later.

Rachel emailed you, btw.

Brewster said...

At the congregation where I grew up we used to have a big party around christmas time. We could never call it a christmas party because the Bible doesn't authorize christmas. So it was always an end of the year party. So where I come from it seems silly to get upset over not calling a work party christmas, when we didn't call it that at church.

Certainly the founding fathers created some religious symbolism in their writings and a great many of them were men of some kind of christian faith.

And of course "seperation of church and state" isn't literally in the constitution. However, I think the ideals are there. Many of the settlers fled england due to a lack of religious freedom. THe bill of rights guarantees religious freedom.

If the government then begins to choose one religion over another or forces a certain religion on its people then that religious freedom is being taken away.

Honestly I don't want there to be public, forced prayer at school. I don't want my kid to be forced to listen to a catholic, methodist, whatever praying. The right to privately pray, or to assemble and pray is a different thing.

PUtting a manger in your yard is different too. That's your property. Putting it on the steps of the capitol begins to show preference to one religion.

Right if I went to China then I'm gonna see major buddhist references. But imagine this, if you decided to live in China. How would you feel if while at work you had to say a pledge that was in buddhas name? Or in July your company had a big Buddha celebration party?

Should you expect some of these things in a predominately Buddhist nation? Yes. But if you could help change those things would you? I know I would. If I could make buddha celebration day into a summer party, I'd try.

To me that's the idea I support. I don't see any need to hit a non christian over the head with christian ideas at the workplace or in the government, or even in the shopping center.

Definitely, from what I see, it is not the buddhist or muslim throwing a fuss, but rather the aetheist and the people who are anti-christianity.

This is long, I'm sorry. One last point. Christmas isn't christian. It isn't authorized in the Bible, we are not told to celebrate Christ's birth. So why should we be bothered if they remove christs name from something that isn't christian?

Brewster said...

Diana, if Christmas was just about giving to others then it would be a grand holiday. I think it gets us down because it is almost an enforced giving. Here it is christmas so I have to give you something and you have to give me something.

I agree with Josh, I like spending time with my family. Ok, I like giving a really good gift too. When I nail a present and see how happy I made someone its great. But the constant shopping sucks.

I much prefer a generous gift out of the blue, for no reason at all, than something at Christmas.

Diana said...

Yeah, it's like flowers at Valentines. Ask any girl and she'll tell you she'd rather get flowers for no reason than flowers on Valentines.
Maybe I feel differently about Christmas because I love the mall and love to shop. None of you strike me as the shopping diva type.

Diana said...

I feel like a Christian's life is hard enough without making it harder by adding all this extra controversy about Merry Whatever.

So I'm trying to stay out of the whole thing. It's sort of funny the difference in people this year. People are so scared of offending people. Most of my customers have been saying Happy Holidays and it's obvious they're afraid of offending someone. I mean, I'M doing it this year, because I don't want someone mad at me. Today I said happy holidays to a lady after I rang her up and she very adamantly responded with "Merry Christmas." It was funny.

What annoys me is when people get offended when people write or say X mas. Because, even with the "it's not about Jesus" bit aside, it's not xing out Christ. X is the letter of the alphabet that starts the word Christ in Greek. Sheesh.

Brewster said...

I dont really get into it anywhere else either, Diana. Honestly I haven't seen much of it elsewhere but the blogosphere. But I don't get out much and I don't watch the news anymore.

Jamison said...

Di, say Merry Christmas... I garantee you that you wont offend anyone. Corporate big wigs are making these rules because they think they are marketing genius'.

I am convinced that no one is being offended by this. I asked my Jewish assistant today if he is offende dby the word Christmas or Christmas trees. He laughed and said "no, in fact, we put up a Christmas tree in our house last year." This kids father will not let him apply for Baylor because it pushes christian ideals.

So, if a jew can put a xmas tree in his house, I think saying "merry christmas" to all the christmas shoppers should go over well. In fact, from what I hear on teh radio, people are shopping MORE at places that say merry chirstmas and 'boycotting' the 'happy holidays' places... say merry christmas and they are liable to make you district manager.

Diana said...

I just realized you titled your post quoting John Lennon.

For anyone who cares, last night was the 25th anniversary of his death.

bigsip said...

Wonder where he is now?

Sorry, poor taste, I know.

I was wondering why my cousin was wearing that Beatles shirt at the music practice last night.

Diana said...