The UnSpending Christmas = More Fun, Less Worry

Christmas is coming! Christmas is coming!
I giggled to death when a friend on Twitter, a member of Vancouver’s crazy Vespa club (“The Worst Scooter Club Ever”) and an awesome artist, Mark Pilon, decided to bring my Christmas tree to life.
I give you the Killer Christmas Tree — we’re currently securing film rights. Think death and jingling bells.
Obviously my place is decorated for the holidays. I’m getting into Christmas-cheer mode. I’ve even come to terms with the fact that, as much as I love the people in my life, no one’s getting “real” gifts. I’m making a lot of candy so as to spread the cheer this year, but that’s about it.
Fiscal realities, baby. Ho-ho-fuckin’-ho.
It’s tough to come to that place of accepting that your finances just don’t allow for the “traditional” Christmas, but it’s a damned good thing to accept, given the economy. I refuse to spend the next four months living with fear and regret for seasonal over-spending.
The best gift I can get this year? Knowing my utilities are finally paid off. It’s been that kind of autumn, and I know I’m not alone.
And, hey, I can do that, finally. It’s great!
What does it leave me for the holidays? Well, I can buy some wine, entertain a few people I care about, have coffee with some other friends, and that’ll be all it wrote.
Once upon a time, though, that was the point of Christmas.
It was about making paper-chains to decorate trees, and popcorn strings, doing snow angels, hoping Santa brought some $50 gift you’d been dying for, playing charades, drinking punch, and throwing snowballs. That was Christmas.
Then Hallmark and Best Buy and Sears and Apple and everyone else said, “Hey, here’s a great merchandising opportunity!” and we’ve been proper fucked since.
People used to be happier with less.
Now we have moreMOREmore and we’re more unhappy than ever. Cue the Prozac and Ambien and Halcyon and Lithium, eh? The medicated gift that keeps giving?
We spend, spend, spend under the delusions that the latest version of X-gadget is exactly what’s been missing in our lives. A purchase, then a week goes by, and, nope, that didn’t Spackle the little hole in our hearts either. Whatcha got for me NOW, Apple?
Commercialism isn’t the answer, and I think we’re finally figuring that out, thanks to economies around the world continuing to collapse like shaky houses of cards, but the problem is, we don’t have a fucking clue what the question is anymore.
Where’s happiness? What’s tradition? Where are we going, and why have we been trying to leave this Place anyhow? Why’d we ever start believing joy was found in a box on a shelf in a big store?
Christmas should be about finding that child inside of yourself, really meaning it when you tell people at cocktail parties that it’s nice to see them. It’s about walking down streets and smiling at decorations, admiring the shimmering lights dangling from trees at night, or stuffing a few extra boxes into a Food Bank hamper.
It’s about wishing for peace and love in the world, bundling up against the elements, singing stupid songs, loving a hot beverage, board games, and slowing down long enough to enjoy those slippers you’ve recently invested in.
I’m really looking forward to dropping by a party with hundreds of people tonight, just because I’m hoping I see a lot of folks I’d love to wish well before the year draws a close.
It’s been a long time since I cared about seeing people, especially in large groups, or wishing them well, or congregating with mass numbers of any kind, but tonight I’d like to do just that. There are a lot of reasons I care this year, but most of them aren’t really for public consumption.
The main shareable reason I care about seeing people is that I know I can’t afford to spend my way to a “happy” Christmas. I can bask in the seasonal glow, though. I can just be there, participate, and be welcomed. That’s seasonal enough for me.
And this year, I think that’s exactly the kind of Christmas I want.
Somewhere along the way, industry, media, and commercial interests have stolen Christmas. They hijacked it and turned it into something that filled their tills and propped up their bottom line, and we lost the soul of the holidays.
The recession, this endless economy, it’s a gift, in a way — it’s our opportunity to say Christmas Is Not For You, Christmas is For Us. It’s for our tradition. It’s for remembering a way of life and a time of easy fun. It’s about movies like A Christmas Story, It’s a Wonderful Life, Miracle on 34th Street. It’s about Bing Crosby and ho-ho-ho. It’s for candy and mulled cider and giggling children. It’s for snowflakes and cookies and slippers and blankets.
And it’s not too late. With social media, we have more communication between us than ever before, and we can declare new priorities, focus on the right things, and take back traditions and our quieter times.
If, that is, you’ve reached the same not-gonna-take-this-anymore threshold as I have.
Me and The Killer Christmas Tree, we’re bringin’ Christmas back.
Next: Sunday might be time to make popcorn strings. It’s…. been a while, and the tree does look a little nekkid. Maybe that’s why he’s so angry-looking… shrinkage. Poor balls.

3 thoughts on “The UnSpending Christmas = More Fun, Less Worry

  1. myself

    I love the killer Xmas tree 🙂
    I am not an xmas person. At all. I hate the whole thing. I actually even hate getting together with family for it.
    Yes. I am Scrooge. What of it?
    So commercial. Last time I did Christmas with the family, my nephews complained about what I bought them (books, I always do books, they do love them, but not in the excitement of Xmas day). So. They now get zilch. Sorry. Complain and you’ll get nothing. I’m not spending my hard-earned cash for that.
    I’ll just hide in my woman cave & hope it all goes away. Heh.

  2. Cheryl

    For a very long time, the magic in my heart for Christmas was crushed by rampant commercialism, but this year, for some strange reason, I’ve been bitten by the Christmas spirit again. Your post reminds me of all the reasons why I do love Christmas. I made a promise to myself a few weeks ago to get out and enjoy as much of the season as I possibly can and that doesn’t include spending money. Awesome post! Thanks for the public reminder it’s not about the money we spend.

  3. Zoeyjane

    All of those childhood reasons are exactly why I love Christmas. Why the two months leading up to it, I’m a stark-raving-counting-down fool. Why I finish my shopping as early as possible, so that I can just enjoy the building excitement, and not feel the stress that I see so many other adults feeling.
    I didn’t have a whole lot of Christmas, growing up. A good one meant that my dad wrote me a letter about not being prepared for it, with some 20s in it. For me now, it’s a chance to live it all, over again – and through Zoë, get to experience what I didn’t.
    That being said, I did go more overboard buying than I intended, even if I did just keep it to the special kids and Zoë’s dad. But still. We made paper chains. And we’ve been ice skating and we’re going to make ornaments on Wednesday – the real kind, with Popsicle sticks and yarn and glitter, and the ones baked in the oven, then slathered in paint. And we’ll go to see the festival of lights at Van Dusen, and ride the light train through Stanley Park. And we’re likely to be seen walking down the street, belting out off-key carols.
    We’re Christmas nuts. 🙂

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