So why don't I have a super cheery, Christmasy title today? Because I'm getting so jaded with this whole thing we've dubbed Christmas. It feels like I'm WRONG for not overindulging my kids by spending boocoodles of dough on garbage for them to open, lose or destroy, and then trash before the end of January. Have I missed something?
I jokingly posted as my facebook status today that my car was going to get keyed whenever Cade finally went to school because all the moms would be mad that he burst their babies' Santa bubble. Yes, I told Cade that Santa is not a real person. Honestly, I think he's pretty creeped out by the whole idea of this old man in red velvet (I mean...isn't that just a little shady?) coming to his house in the middle of the night. And guess what? He's still psyched about Christmas. He knows mommy and daddy aren't buying him tons of toys. Not once this year have I told him that he would or wouldn't get a toy for Christmas based on his behavior, and he acted just fine. This is the kind of kid that I WANT to sacrifice for and give a meaningful gift to. I've been told "Oh, you just wait a couple of years. He'll be expecting all kinds of stuff at Christmas, and you'll have to stop being a cheapskate and buy that boy some real presents." What the heck? Do people honestly think that switches just flip in people randomly and they expect things that they've never had? Kids respond to our actions. They expect what is given to them. They exhibit behaviors repeatedly because they're allowed or encouraged to.
Whew...got all deep and opinionated fast. I know I'm not right about everything, and I tend to get rubbed the wrong way by lots of things, but I really don't think this is one of those things. I genuinely feel like we've seriously jacked up Christmas. Man, how did we get this far from a manger? I've asked Cade probably 10 times today "What is Christmas really about?", and he tells me it's Jesus's birthday. And sometimes he gives me this "Oh, mom. Again?" look, but I don't care. It's scary to see the look in his eyes when the Target commercial comes on and he sees these kids ripping through gifts and the song says they're feeling "electric jewels of jubilation", and if we have to have the discussion 20 times a day to keep our focus, I'm game. I thought electric jewels of jubilation was something you saved for the honeymoon...really, when you think about it, the wording is a bit absurd.
I volunteer at a place that supplies food and "care" for people in need...I hate the term food pantry because it's so much more. But here lately, I've been so frustrated with the inquiries of whether or not we can provide "Christmas" for their children. I was literally told that if we couldn't provide presents, they they were just going to skip Christmas this year. I was floored. Since this was someone who spoke openly about believing in God, I felt compelled to share that Christmas happens no matter what. Jesus was born, and that doesn't change.
Insert blank stare.
I really think this concept has never crossed many people's minds. It baffles me that people can't connect the dots here. I mean, first of all, the greed and overabundance is just wrong, but I don't understand how we can't make other connections. Like, we have lots of resources. People in other areas don't. We should share. Even our homeless have a decent life compared to kids in other countries. I mean, my dog, and I'm not a big lovie dovie dog person, has it better than some of these people. Here's an example of this extreme poverty and sickness that I ran across recently. Makes me sick to think how much further $25 would go over there. Honestly, it won't buy a halfway decent toy here.
So, once again, we will be the people who give either handmade things or charitable gifts in the names of our family members. And some of those people and people we know will think we're lame-o cheapskates, but that's ok. I'm not willing to throw His money down a drain just to appease.
I'm sorry if this came off as a rant. It probably was a rant, and I think I'm fine with that. It's ok to get fired up about some things, and you're an observer with free will, so if you made it to this point, you probably didn't disagree too terribly much.
I'm going to link a few sites where you could give charitable gifts this Christmas. I'm sure there are others, but I know people who have experience with these.
Oh, and how about a little cuteness?
And some that aren't quite so cute?
Maybe I'll have a cheerier post another day. Funny thing is that I'm actually in a really good mood today, so don't get this vision of a harried hag pounding away at her keyboard. I know there's lots of good people with good intentions in this world. I just think we need to turn our focus outward more often...beyond the walls of our home. I think the best gift we can give our families is a good understanding of what Christmas truly means, and I think we do Jesus a disservice by stopping at the fact that He was born. Yes, Christmas is a time to celebrate His birth, but it's also a great time to live out what He did and commands us to do as His children.