Hot on HuffPost Parents:
Do you hate the holidays?
Well, perhaps HATE is too strong a word. How about "severely dislike?" How about "diametrically opposed to?" How about...just sick of them...already???
About three weeks ago I was walking back to work after running an errand at lunch and I heard a Christmas carol playing on the radio. It was mid-October. As of November 1st I was assaulted, bombarded, overrun with Christmas commercials trying to sell me the perfect (overpriced?) everything for every member of my family, ensuring I would be in debt until the end of time.
In the mail I received numerous ads for the holidays--already!--amongst which was one trying to sell me this claw-like contraption you fill with stuffing and then shove inside a turkey. It was really, really gross. Probably tasty in the end, but still GROSS.
When I was a kid (yes, here I go again), I used to have so much fun over the holidays. Sure, I got presents, and that was a big part of it, but I also got to spend a lot of time with family I didn't normally see. Everyone bothered to get dressed up. We ate food we didn't normally eat. We allowed ourselves dessert and leftovers. We celebrated.
A lot of work was involved for my parents as they ended up hosting a lot of the Thanksgiving and Christmas celebrations, but it was all worth it in the end. We had a gorgeous tree to admire, a bountiful feast to offer friends and relatives, and plenty of time to just sit around and hang out.
Every year it seems the holidays have become more another opportunity to sell to the consumer. I am constantly being hawked to no matter where I turn. Can't turn on the television, radio or hook up to the Internet without being told to go buy something.
And it's not just parents. It's kids too. I know when I was little I was constantly being marketed too--all the really good ads came out just in time for me to be good so Santa would bring me something fun. The stores made sure they had tons of Cabbage Patch Kids or whatever was hot that year and stayed open all night long in order to sell, sell, sell to frenzied parents hellbent on getting whatever it was.
Hmm. Maybe the holidays have always been like this. Maybe I was just a kid and didn't see that side of it. Maybe now that I am an adult--and am now being marketed to as a new parent who simply MUST get all this stuff for my brand new baby's first Christmas--I am finally seeing the holidays for what they are.
Well, I'd rather see them for what they should be. My husband feels the same way. Sure, we have the urge to go out and buy everything in sight sometimes, but what we really want is to spend time with our families. What we really want is a break from life to just sit around and hang out.
This year we want to do all that with our new baby, and share him with everyone. And we'd like to avoid all the non-stop consumerism nonsense. Just try telling the grandmas NOT to buy yet another item for the wee one. They can't be stopped--no, they WON'T be stopped.
That's OK, though, I guess. I'll try to tell them not to spend their money, but rather their time. I am sure we'll come up with a good compromise. Can this cycle of spending and debt and excess that kicks out the real meaning of the holidays--some of them religious, some of them about togetherness--be stopped?
I'd love to love the holidays again. Any suggestions how?
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