For the first time in years I am positively excited about this ridiculous holiday known as "christmas". Seriously, I am as giddy as a three year old, and I think this is absolutely fantastic. Let me explain:
Christmas, to me, was a terrible time of year. Having grown up in a semi-religious-mostly-spiritual home, I am quite familiar with that side of this holiday, because it was originally (well, a Pagan festival adopted by the Christians to ease transition to a new faith, but hey) a religious festival. Like lent, or pentecost. This isn't why it was terrible for me.
What made this season so hard to endure was getting a job at 15 in retail and realizing, without a doubt, that somewhere along the way it was turned into a consumer driven, hallmark holiday. People who don't identify with any particular religion were throwing up trees in their living rooms, and throwing down credit cards on my store counter. I'm not trying to rain on anyone's parade here, if Christmas is something you dig, then cool! Embrace the idea behind it - family. Kickin' it with the people that drive you absolutely bonkers the rest of the year, drinking some delicious beverages, and eating a (or many) fantastic meal(s) together.
What got to me was the poor attitude of shoppers that I, as the sales associate, had to simply accept. Christmas time is a time for shoppers to be rude, greedy, and generally unpleasant, and no one is allowed to object to poor treatment because hey, it's christmas and they are paying your paycheque. I disagree - I am still human. I should still be treated as such (because, after all, it's not my fault that you decided that three thirty on December 23rd would be the best time to start shopping and we are out of stock.). This got me down. Moreover, the insane rush to BUY BUY BUY so that you can bring a smile to your friends/partner's/childrens/family's faces completely loses the spirit behind giving a gift. If you give someone a gift, should you not be smiling as you buy it? Why give something that was bought with negative energy. And boxing day sales simply cheapen the whole festival, if you ask me.
So, why am I excited this year? Well. A few things. Over the past few years I have started to incorporate homemade gifts (duct tape wallets are always a hit, so are homemade chocolates!) and create themes for my gift-giving. From buying from artesans in Chile while travelling to supporting organizations that work in developing countries, the opportunities are endless for happy, non-mass-consumer driven gift giving!
The past two years have been my favourite themes: Year one - local shops only. I lived in Victoria and I supported privately owned, Victoria businesses. This is way cooler than buying at Walmart, I promise. This year: No malls. Living in the city I do now (Calgary) I find mall culture is obscene. We opened up a mall bigger than West Edmonton (which is it's own little town...) simply for the bragging rights. Go team. So I decided that malls are out, and I feel GREAT about having participated in my own little boycott. I also wrapped all my gifts in newsprint (that leaves lovely black stains on your hands, by the by, wear gloves or wash your hands every so often as you wrap) for the re-using AND recycling qualities! I listen to a radio station at work that doesn't push corporate consumption, but urges people to shop local! All these things are so completely AWESOME I can hardly express it.
But simply, the single most awesome thing I am excited about this year?
That I get to spend it with the people I love and care for. And this year that's all that matters.
So if you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Solstice or what have you, I hope you have (had) an excellent time chilling with the ones you care about. And have an awesome long weekend!