Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Am I The Only TreeHugger Who Loves The Christmas Season?

I have come to the conclusion that I am out of lockstep with the rest of the ecoblogging world.


You see, I LOVE Christmas. It's my parent's fault, I suppose. Even with mailman/schoolmarm incomes, they made each and every one of my childhood Christmas's ... well ... magic. The magic was the whole experience, not just the gifts, but no apologies ... giving and getting is fun.

When I grew up, I made sure that my kids had lots of magic, not just at Christmas, but ESPECIALLY at Christmas.

That involves Christmas shopping and the joy of finding special gifts (yes, material things! oh the horror!) for my knuckleheads et al.

Here's what that makes me, according to various blogs and commenters on almost every eco-oriented blog ... "a stupid lemming, sick materialistic idiot, a corporate advertising pawn, stupid, a programmed purchaser of soon to be landfill material, .... blah, blah, blah..."


I wish I had gone shopping on "Black Friday", but I was too lazy. There's some great deals and lots of those parents were up early because the discounts are so dramatic that it might make the difference in satisfying a kid's wish or not.

It did make a difference last year on an item that would have been out of $$ reach if my wife hadn't gone out there at 5:00 am for a half price sale. Hardly a day goes by when that gift is not enjoyed by my kids. Is she a greedy lemming? Nah, more like a dedicated mother.

I'm not defending shopping slobs or rudeness, but those folks you saw slapping each other over TV's and video consoles on the news are rude year round, trust me.

I've just been astounded by the vitriol and scroogey superiority in the commentary on so many eco blogs. It was like a mantra, over and over again.

Eventually, after so much of it, I felt my head might explode and I always hate it when that happens, so here I am baring my out of step, lemming like, stupid, materialistic, landfill-filling soul.

I LOVE CHRISTMAS. (madness!)
I LOVE CHRISTMAS TREES ... REAL ONES. ( this could be the lemming part ... I'm not sure)
I LOVE WRAPPING PAPER ALL OVER THE FLOOR ON CHRISTMAS MORNING ( that's probably the landfill filling part)


So there it is, no secrets, no PC.

It's just Christmas folks ... lighten up.

And don't forget to get your wish list to me, I don't have a clue as to what you want and there's only 26 shopping days left!


Posted by Picasa


kevin said...

I've finished my shopping, I usually do it somewhere around the 23rd or 24th. I figure why stress about all year when I can just wait to the last minute. This year I had to finish early or my family would get birthday presents instead of Christmas presents.

Anyway, we have our traditions too. I'll miss them this year.

pissed off patricia said...

I love the traditions that have become our own but I don't like being made to feel that if I don't drive myself crazy with the season that I haven't done my part.

I love the natural parts of Christmas. The weather (hopefully cooler than 80 on Christmas day) The local Christmas parade (not at all a Macy's affair. Most of the town is in the parade) Mr Pop's cookies he bakes on Christmas eve morning. (they are so damned good) And watching my little dog opening his gifts as he rips that tissue paper all to hell. And finally the Christmas morning walk on the beach. That's my Christmas.

Laura said...

I've had years where I wasn't in the mood for Christmas at all, but probably because of the materialistic bent and/or because it seemed at the time that the holidays had come too soon.

But I never gave up the traditions or my desire to make it good for my family. This year, I was in the mood for Christmas before Thanksgiving even rolled around, and I was relieved to feel that way for the first time in a long time.
It was, however, just a little disconcerting to see Christmas trees on display at Lowes in Clearwater in October.

The traditions, however... are my favorite part of the season. I like to bake (and bake and bake), that's huge for me. We always have a big pancake breakfast on Christmas morning after the presents, and other smaller traditions that are too numerous to type here. Shopping for the gifts can be a hassle, but I'm into surprising everyone with their gifts, so I generally have fun with it.

You're right about that last line, if only everyone would simply lighten UP!

Cathy S. said...

I love Christmas too. And if someone thinks that makes me a bad person, then, label me bad. I don't care. I do care that I help to build memories for my family. Stories that they will tell for generations. Remember when youngest son woke us up at 3:00 AM when he was less than 2 hollering for his toy tractor? Remember when oldest son bought gifts for everyone with his own money at the school fair? Let's go through each child's box of ornaments and remember what was going on the year that we bought each one. Last year, we had a young friend with no place else to go spend the holidays with us. It was so fun to watch what we take for granted through her eyes. We are very blessed. I would encourage every one to do the same this year. Invite a stranger into your family traditions. Maybe even one of those scrooges that think the season is a waste. They might learn something and even have a reason to smile!

Mark said...

I happen to be an atheist who really enjoys Christmas. For me, the famiily traditions are the only things that matter about Christmas. And for me, too, presents and the anticipation of presents are big, big parts of the tradition. When I hear people say that Jesus is the reason for the season, I think, "No, not really. Christmas is not about Jesus, it's about presents." The part of that holier-than-thou mantra that really bothers me is that it's clear virtually everyone shares my opinion about what Christmas is about, despite the fact that they claim just the opposite. What we see on TV about shopping madness is a reflection in the mirror.

vicki said...

You are on a roll this week, I'll give you that. But this is a delighfully refreshing post. Christmas IS a great holiday- the lights, the music, the presents, the food, and shhh- for some of us the meaning (I wrote my lemming post yesterday)- the whole package tied up with a bow. I wouldn't have anything but a real tree-I'm already on the hunt for a tall skinny one that will suit this brick walled city house. Enjoy the season, FC!

(How's the pig? If I had a piglet, she'd have lights on her pen for Christmas.)

Missourimadness said...

My Christmas list simply includes prayers for today. Our first major ice storm is bearing down directly on this area and by the time I get out of my workplace and have to drive the up and down route to get home it is supposed to be a real mess. I don't know about Pablo, but I'm scared. (I'm a winter weather wimp; I prefer summer--thanks)

Betsy said...

We always celebrate Buy Nothing Day (the day after Thanksgiving) by going for an outing on the water or in the woods. It's delightful to be outside enjoying God's creation when all the lemmings (no you're not a lemming FC) are driving themselves crazy at the mall. Ugh.

Everyone likes presents but in general we reserve gifts for children or very close family members.

As an adult trying to get rid of excess "stuff" I tend to like gifts that make themselves disappear over time (wine, stollen, concert tickets, etc.)

Wayne said...

FC - this sounds like a strawman argument to me. I may not read all the eco-blogs that you read, but I haven't encountered any that sound so extreme. If you could direct me to some of them.

Yes, I do see some, including mine, that feel that "Black Friday" is pretty deplorable, what with people waiting in line in the dark for hours trying to batter down the doors and then filling up three shopping carts with plastic, but that sounds like a legitimate gripe.

Don't peg me with that. It's just not the case. I like Christmas. I don't buy a huge number of gifts, and I don't try to find something that's 50% off (I saved all that money by being an effete liberal hanging my clothes out to dry over the last year instead of running them through a dryer :-) ). I have a few friends that I buy gifts for, and Glenn, of course, and I think about what they may like, and that's it. And I have a good time.

SophieMae said...

Got room for one more in the lemming line? I did cave this year and went to Ace on Black Friday. Couldn't pass up that George Foreman grill deal. 8-]

robin andrea said...

I've never celebrated Christmas, so I don't really have a dog or cat in this fight. From the outside it looks insanely materialistic. I never understood how the birth of Jesus Christ became a season when storeowners finally turned a profit. There's a line in the opening mononlogue of a movie called Seven Beauties..."for those who think Jesus Christ was Santa Claus as a young man..." that always rang true to me. I wish there was more spirituality in the season, reverence, paganism, delight in the winter solstice. I don't think the sentiment is about being anti-Christmas, as much as it is surprise at the debasement of the origin of the celebration. What do people celebrate when they celebrate Christmas?

Cathy S said...

Oh, let me answer, please, please! I celebrate Christmas and the birth of Jesus Christ. But, I think it can be done without all the materialism yet with some gift giving. We limit the number of gifts our children get and we also make sure that some gifts we buy are for those in need. This year, we have adopted an elementary school class in a lower income school and will be buying books for all the children. We teach that the holiday is as much about giving of yourself as it is about giving of stuff. We like to give "certificates" for outings or memory building activities. Our emphasis is on Jesus and the fact that He came to give of Himself to the world. Christmas gives us a chance to model that behavior. Not to mention the symbolism in the lights and the decorations we use in our home. I know FC didn't intend for this to be a "religious" discussion, but I couldn't resist Robin Andrea's question. You can keep Christ in Christmas and have fun without being totally focussed on the excess and materialism that the world places on the holiday.

Anonymous said...

Another great post. I have been thinking that stuff isn't so bad anyhow. Like your post on memory plants, I think about memory stuff, like Grandma L's dining room table, or Grandma Peggy's turkey platter. Those were purchased once, possilby even as Christmas gifts and now they are family treasures. Who is to say that 2006's crass consumerism isn't 2086's beloved family heirloom.

pablo said...

I was going to weigh in with a comment much like Wayne's, but the ice storm here got me home later than expected. It's not the holiday itself that bugs me. It is the rampant consumerism, and even more, the lock-step willingness of people to become a part of it.

Kansas City is getting iced over tonight. Don't know what tomorrow will be like, but I'm home for now.

ImagineMel said...

Again, it's the little things that matter and it's usually those things we remember and seek to recreate in our own families.

My kids wouldn't know what to do without Christmas Eve at Grandma's (where they get an ornament every year 'til they're 21), Real trees that smell amazing and make them wonder what it might be like to live in places where they grow, (since they're native Floridians), wrapping paper all over everywhere and everything (including the occasional errant cat), the mouse in the countdown calendar (and an 18 and 15 y/o arguing over whose turn it is to "move the mouse"),small, square, flat gifts that look remarkably similar to calendars (shhhh, don't tell them!),oohing and aahing (ok, screaming...)over what Santa has left for them Christmas morning ...unwrapped and spread under the tree since Santa obviously can't have time to make AND wrap all those gifts too (or so their mom's parents told HER all those years ago), and, what we believe to be the "reason for the season", the birth (a gift indeed!) of Jesus. He's the center of every day and worthy to be celebrated on his birthday just as each of us are! :)

So, yep, even a "treehugger" like you is entitled to celebrate the magic of a perfectly magical time! And this year in particular when we have magical fall color trees!(in DECEMBER!) I can't wait to decorate!

Deb said...

I guess I'm an eco-blogger (not a "tree hugger")that would like to see a Christmas holiday that is less shopping-oriented, but more meaningful. I personally stay away from the stores on Black Friday, just because I freak out in crowds and stores. Ask my kids! I'm all for a few thoughtfully-chosen "material" gifts for Christmas morning (My kids are getting a Nintendo WII..shhh!) but if shopping becomes the focus, not a means to an end, that's where I start having problems with Christmas.

Ho ho ho...

Wayne said...

I was watching Pablo's weather this evening, with some degree of envy, and also Robin and Roger's. We'll get rain, but that's about it. I'm not complaining.

I will say this, FC, to hopefully leaven what might have sounded harsh. I find you to be a delightful fellow whose occasionally different opinions have considerably expanded my thinking processes. Of course, our common interests are icing on the cake, but the differences have been more valuable to me.

Floridacracker said...

Just another sacrifice ...

Are those tollhouse cookies? Actually, your commenters at Morning Martini were part of what got me rolling. They seemed so grouchy and judgemental of anyone who Christmas shopped. Can we do something to cheer them up? :)
Your Christmas sounds lovely.

I agree about the too early a start. It dilutes the specialness of the season.
I suppose I would see Christmas a little different if I'd never had kids, I don't know how to explain the magic of kids and Christmas.

Cathy S.,
Very thoughtful and familiar. I found myself nodding yes to much of what you said. Maybe it's all about making memories.

I think it is very much about Jesus for many, many people. I have friends who go to a midnight mass Christmas Eve, open fun packages on Christmas morn, and go to a Christmas mass later that day. They are keeping the reason for the season in sight while still enjoying the gifting. I an somewhere between you and them, but I agree Christmas as a season of good will, giving, and fun can be enjoyed by anyone. I can't agree with your last statement as shopping madness as shown on tv is not a reflection of anyone I know. In general, I avoid people like that.

I am ... I need to just shut up and post some pretty pictures.
I got my real tree tonight, a farm raised Fraser Fir from the great state of North Carolina.

I hope your prayers are answered. I was just watching the weather channel and I thought of you and Pablo in a story about a Kansas snow storm.

I haven't been in a real mall in a year ... not even to Victoria's Secrets.
I do a lot of my shopping online ... suuuuweeeeet! That's my kind of shopping.
Regarding gifts that go away,My Dad has hit that point where he has every tool he could ever want, so I focus on treats and fun gifts that don't clutter his space.

We have to agree to disagree on this. I don't think it's a false point at all. It's subtle on some sites, glaring in COMMENTS on multiple sites and it reeks of "I'm better than you because I don't Christmas shop". It has a streak of meanness in it.
I wasn't pegging you with anything and certainly not defending the rude minority of shoppers ... just the opposite in my post.
When I can find 50% off of something I need or want to buy... I go for it. I wasn't able to save any money line drying with three teenagers to feed, house, and send to college. Having kids is my choice I know, but necessity is the mother of discount shopping.
I guess I undestand not participating in the Christmas hubub and happy frenzy more than I understand the need to criticize it.
I guess those who buy nothing all year could fuss a bit.

My kids love the GF grill. Now if I could get them to clean it after they use it. Hope you got a good deal!

A lot of things look odd from the outside. I wonder if it's possible to feel the Christmas magic if you don't have happy Christmas childhood memories. I can't argue that the season has become a hodgepodge of religion and nonreligous tradition, but I do see it as a good thing overall. Is there excess and bad manners? Yes. Are these special to Christmas? No.
I really see it from the wide-eyed kid viewpoint.

Cathy S,
Well said. Even though we sometimes get carried away with the gifts, we also donate huge amounts of time and money during the season to charitable organizations.

It really is about memories isn't it?

In that case, see my comment to Wayne. Glad you made it home safe. Be careful on that ice.

Those leaves are spectacular this year. It's like Maine has come to Florida.
I enjoyed reading your traditions. Imagine the vast number of individual family traditions that are out there. Little things that might seem strange to others, but are much loved rituals to each family.

Floridacracker said...

You slipped in here while I was spending an hour responding to all these very intelligent folks.
Lucky Deb kids, a Wii! I'm supposed to find one.

No harshness noted. You were just making your points. No problem. Afterall, I did minirant at your site the other day me thinking about this post.
I was afraid it might look like I was pointing at you, but truly, it was more comments on a mix of sites that repeated a " this is a sick country, we are all materialistic idiots" line that just fired me up. It was so negative.

I may have not been too delightful in this post, more on the cranky side I suppose. I do value the back and forth of this medium and you should know that Niches is a very valued stop on my blogging route. I've been enriched by my visits there.
Merry Christmas!

Abandoned in Pasadena said...

I love Christmas. I love all the excitement that it brings. I love buying special gifts and I have been known to be out in the crowd on Black Friday vieing for that great deal...but now that I'm smarter I shop online and I start shopping in September.
I cook, I bake, I make candy, we have plenty of fruit and it's a BIG DEAL at our house. You can't walk for the wrapping paper strewn all over. I sometimes continue to give gifts all the way to New Years day...a present each day. Shoot me. My daughter always bakes a birthday cake for Jesus on Christmas because we are celebrating his birthday.

My Christmas's at my grandma's house were very special and I continue with her Christmas traditions at my house.

Floridacracker said...

Big deal here too.
Much of what you said sounds familiar.

Mark said...

FC, I tend to speak in hyperbole. Or is it that I exaggerate? No slight intended towards anyone who feels differently about Christmas. My broad, sweeping statement was mainly directed at the gazillions of people who do rush madly about buying and buying and buying ...

When I look at the way business treats Christmas, I assume they are judging their customers accurately, and business treats Christmas as the Holy Shopping Season. This year it started before Thanksgiving. In a few years, it will probably closely follow Halloween.

Wayne said...

You get fired up as much as you want, FC. We can take it :-)

Hurricane Teen said...

This treehugger loves the Christmas season :-D But I do believe that much of our society is losing sight of the fact why it is Christmas. Hint: Just look at the word..."CHRISTmas"

Rurality said...

I used to be a Christmas nut but somehow I lost all my holiday spirit... It may have somehting to do with craft shows. At the last one we did, we had to listen to Christmas music for 12 hours a day, 5 days in a row. (Except the last day was just a 1/2 day.) Kind of sucks the old Christmas spirit right out of me!

I did used to love going shopping with my Mom on the day after Thanksgiving. But that was before people got so insane about it.

Floridacracker said...

Holy shopping season ...LOL.
I know there is much truth to that. The crazy early start to the season and every holiday drives me crazy too.

Thanks. I will endeavor to control my scrappiness. :)

Holidays tend to get diluted and generalized as time goes by.

I like the old crooner Christmas music ... Bing Crosby et al.
I wonder what it's like to work at a retail place during the season and here the same circle of Christmas music over and over and over.

rick said...

just finished putting up the Christmas lights outside and the tree inside . Don't want santa to forget our house. heck i still remember leaving your mom and dads on christmas eve and looking up to see if i could see him coming. i will always believe !!!

Floridacracker said...

me too

Mrs. FC said...

You make me love you more each day FC. You are simply the "whole package", my best Christmas present ever!
Mrs. FC