Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Merry Christmas To Me!

Ahhh, that was fun!

I had a merry Christmas, but I tell ya it was a close one. Christmas Eve were to have a little party at our house, and in the days preceding, I was more than a little stressed at preparing the house for guests. This being no easy feat of cleaning, and balancing the not cleaning
yet, of stuff that life and the Chaos Girls will trash between then and the party regardless. Saturday found me tense and unkind, unhappy with the season and finding fault with my beloved and children.


It never helps that I am conflicted with the timing of Christmas (not that I am in any way shuffling off the responsibility for my crusty behavior... it's mine and I was a grouch). The whole business about most of the "symbols" of Christ in the season actually being co-opted Pagan Midwinter hoodie-doo. The part about how this ain't even
close to the date when Jesus was actually born... whatever. When did I become an intellectual purist?

Besides... if I wanted to get all theologically technical? All things point to Christ anyway.... and the Pagan stuff was itself, a corrupted form of eternal truths. So what does it matter how we get there? For some reason it matters to me, just enough to throw me off my stride... that and the lying about Santa bit.

The fact that scholars and revelation agree that the Savior was born in the springtime? When did
I get so picky? My fifteenth birthday was set back an entire month so that our family could celebrate the marriage of my oldest sister. Believe me, I wasn't all that bugged by the delay or the fact that my "birthday cake" was a resuscitated half a frozen sheet cake from her wedding reception. Instead, I parlayed the shifting of my birthday celebration into my first ever "friends" birthday party complete with Domino's Pizza, drinks and a rented video showing of Repo Man.

Comically, that was 1984, the year that the movie
Sixteen Candles came out. I never did understand why the crap the main character hadn't given her whole family a heads up at least two weeks in advance to remind them of her upcoming birthday. I guess coming from a family of six kids is a titch different than three. I never assumed that my folks would remember too much of anything!

I, of all people, should relax about a little fudging in dates.

That wasn't the problem. I was the problem. Nothing that a little bit of prayer and meditation couldn't fix. Looking back on Christmas, I am shocked to see that this Christmas was perfect. It was so perfect that I couldn't even see it because I was so busy living it.

Everything was present. Warm and comfortable home, healthy children, family and friends, love, food and gifts...

We made and delivered treats to neighbors, made ornaments for the tree, a gingerbread house, parties, kept it all relatively Christ focused and even had a particularly touching and wonderful opportunity to do service for someone who had a need this season. It's good to be useful to another, and to teach our sweet girls that service and charity is an essential part of celebrating Christmas.

Sweetest of all...

All year Birdie has wanted a
My Little Pony Butterfly Island from Santa Clause. She has been scheming and hoping and drooling over the fun she will have. In the meantime LaLa has developed a deep love for her all time favorite pony... Hona-Lu-Lu. It is her "whay-vwit." When Santa went online to purchase the Island and a few other pony essentials, he was nonplussed to find that Hona-Lu-Lu was not in the Hasbro pantheon of ponys for sale. Imagine Santa's surprise and discomfort when the UPS dude delivered the Island and sundries, and he got a good look at the Pony Island set. It comes with Hona-Lu-Lu.

Santa said... "Oh, crap!" Serious as a heart attack, that's what came out of his jolly mouth! He thought long and hard about simply having the set out and assembled, and putting the Hona-Lu-Lu pony in with LaLa's stuff. In the end he decided against it because that Birdie is one sharp cookie. She probably is perfectly aware of every last bit of plastic hoopty-doo that is included in with the Butterfly Island.

Christmas morning, and the box containing the Island is being ripped into like a terrier rips into a fresh rat hole. Birdie finds the Hona-Lu-Lu pony and says, "Oh! LaLa, it's Hona-Lu-Lu! Your favorite... here." Whereupon she hands her sister the pony, and that was that.

I tell you, it was a perfect Christmas.


momofalltrades said...

Awwww! How sweet! Sisterly love during the season of gimme. Gotta love that action!

elizasmom said...

I know we're supposed to reject materialism, bla bla bla, but there's something about giving a kid their heart's desire that just warms the cockles of your own heart, doesn't it? And to have her turn around and share - that is so very very wonderful.

I'm glad that your Christmas turned out perfect.

As for the accuracy of the holiday, I can see what you're getting at. I have my own struggle, reconciling how Santa fits into a celebration of Christ's birthday.

In my family we were visited by the Christchild on Christmas Eve, which is the German tradition. Although as I've come understand more, I've become more ambivalent about the thought of Christ bringing gifts, I like that at least it acknowledges who the holiday's actually about.

DadGuy said...

Don't any of you guys know where the whole santa bit came from?

You know, jolly old saint nicholas?

Some old dude handing out presents to the needy (Catholic I think?) became a tradition and something to believe in. Yes, santa is real, he lived and died and did the things that santa does. Well, without the reindeer and chimney bit. Anyhow, what's wrong with continuing that spirit of giving, of carrying on the tradition of faith, hope and charity that santa represents?

Sure there's the commercial version of santa, but that's not who or what he really is.

At least not to me.

Oh and happy holidays.

elizasmom said...

Hi Dadguy!
Point taken.
I didn't add this in my first comment because I was getting long-windy, but I grew up in Belgium (mom's German, hence the Christmas Eve thing) and they celebrate St. Nicholas (you're right, a Catholic bishop - which is where the red outfit with the hat comes from, sort of an adaptation of traditional vestments) on Dec. 6, his name day. And he travels across the rooftops on his white horse, and kids leave carrots in a shoe for the horse.
Anyway, all that is to say I personally like separating the two out, but I completely agree with your larger point about celebrating the things he represents.

Blogarita said...

In a similar, yet very different, conversation with myself, I've wondered why I celebrate Christmas at all, since I'm not the religious sort. For me, it's for the food and fellowship with whoever in my family decides to get together.

I also tend to wonder what all the fuss is about when some religious folks get bent out of shape over the Santas, the snowmen, the "Happy Holidays" sentiment instead of "Merry Christmas", the peace sign wreaths in airports, etc., when as you and others have pointed out, Dec. 25th isn't the birthday of Christ all all. Kind seems that the entire holiday is a sham...and if so, there's nothing for anyone to be offended about.

That being said, we all had a good time anyway.

Mama D said...

It certainly sounds perfect. I admit I was grumpy until about 10 minutes into our drive to the inlaws. Then it all just melted away. And when we got there and Peter unloaded all the stuff I'd loaded into the car. He understood my grumpiness. Bless him.

Glad you had a good one Bon!

bon said...

I agree on the whole "just chill and roll wid it" holiday style, and really I am not all anti-Santa. My folks just never had us believe in Santa, so I'm trusting in Dadguy's happy experiences on that count...

ambivalent. that's a mighty good word for alot of my meditations on the season. I think that everyone would then agree that I should skip the deep thinking and do more of the "roll wid it".