It starts in November just after Halloween and way before Thanksgiving, which really upsets a lot of people. You know what I’m talking about.
Then comes the music in the stores, and on the radio. Woe unto thee that dares such sacrilege before the passing of Halloween. I’ve seen the tweets and status updates about those.
Then the commercials flood the airways, and suddenly the public seems up in arms about the whole Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays wished by clerks to customers as people contemplate the necessity of their own shopping. Never mind that we went through all of this last year, and oh, yeah, the year before that. But this year it begins anew, and coaxes out the Scrooge in so many.
After last year when I posted my thoughts of The Horror of the Holidays on my creative writing site Blood and Candlelight, and even talked about Making Holiday Magic here, I knew that I was going to do things differently this year.
This year I’m taking back the holiday and making it bright.
Step one was actually accomplished three years ago when my family gave up cable TV. We don’t even watch basic TV. We do have Netflix streaming, and a DVD/BlueRay collection that warrants its own closet much like Danny’s action movie collection in Hot Fuzz. It isn’t like we are complete troglodytes. We have our favorite Christmas themed movies, which means we watch them when we want without the over saturation of Christmas specials or commercials.
Step two involves the shopping. December comes every year without fail. Thanks to Ugo Boncompagni, more famously known as Pope Gregory XIII, most of the modern world follows the same calendar regardless of religious affiliation. This makes planning things in advance not only possible, but relatively simple. I utilized this divining tool to get all my shopping done prior to November this year so I missed all the premature Christmas displays, and thereby eliminated the perceived purchasing pressure exerted by clerks to buy more than I planned. (It is important to note that I am very good at hiding things, and you have to be to plan as far in advance as I did this year.)
Step three to taking back the holiday was to turn off my radio right after I bought the last gift. I have not played the radio since October 27th. I’ve been living off CDs, my iPod, iTunes, and Pandora Radio. This has served me as well as not having TV–no holiday commercials or over saturation of holiday music. In fact, I made a holiday station on Pandora and play it only when I feel like it. This means my spirits are lifted without the imagined pressure to feel more than I do.
Step four is the making it bright phase of the holiday season. Over at MomsGetReal I talked about how to Embrace Frugality With a Home Crafted Christmas. The truth is with all the holiday decorations most of us have boxed up in attics, basements, and closets what is there really that needs buying that we don’t already have or can make? One thing I’ve found is that nothing gets kids as excited about the holidays as making their own decorations. This is where we can talk about why we do what we do, and the meaning it has for our family.
What about you? Are you going to take back the holiday and make it bright or allow over saturation to turn you into Scrooge? Is it really the pressure to feel and do more that has you rebelling?
*Photos: 1) Our tree and mantle this year. The tree is a work in progress as we are making each of the 364 gifts from the Twelve Days of Christmas as ornaments. The only store bought ornaments this year were given to me by my mother and are the Twelve Days of Christmas. Those would be the dancing ladies you see so far. 2) Our count down chain with a pink link for my daughter’s birthday, and a cream colored link each for Yule and Christmas.