Thursday, December 23, 2010

what christmas means to me

First I stole the title from a Stevie Wonder song of the same name.  Listen HERE.

This being the first Christmas season that I've celebrated with some distance between me and Momma it's been a much easier time for me.

I'm sure that sounds mean, but really it's not.  She celebrates much differently than I do, and it's difficult for me to just be throughout as she sees what seems to be me not getting into the whole thing.  That's truly a shit rendering of the portrait, but it's close enough.

I'm happy to roll through Christmas.  I'm happy to peruse the wish lists the boys craft so perfectly and sometimes leave leaned just so against the computer screen where they're still not sure I saw it.

I'm happy to not get them the things on their list, but I'm quite happy to get them things they will love nonetheless.  Both boys will absolutely love The Simpsons Hit and Run I got them for the PS2 their uncle gave me a few weeks ago.  And it's not the exact Lego thing they might have asked for, but they'll be happy. 

And that's where Momma steps in.  She's already got them the lesser huge Lego thing they wanted and plans to get them the other huge Lego thing that turned into THE toy this year and would be available for a buck and a half at the store if it weren't gone to ebay and up to an even five hundred.  She's not planning to pay that much for it.  Her idea is to give them a picture of what they'll soon be getting.  I kinda want to talk her out of it.  I think she does too much, but I love that she loves it so much.  It's how she does Christmas.

Tomorrow it's off to the local super awesome used book store where I'll satisfy that family tradition of the pile of books under the tree.  That's my favorite of our traditions, and I'm looking forward to what I'll find.  The best part?  Momma gave me her store credit she earned by taking in a pile of stuff we'd collected over the years.  Really it's our store credit.  She just did the work of actually boxing it up and offering it to them.

Christmas for me is an entirely secular celebration.  I get what it means and signifies to others.  Momma and I shopped together today and left the boys at Great Grandmother's house.  At some point between then and picking them up she told them that Christmas is Jesus' birthday.

The Boy told me about the Jesus birthday thing, and that led to a short conversation about the number of celebrations that happen to occur at this time of year because of the variety of belief systems that exist which then led to my pointing out that  many people celebrate similar holidays, different holidays or even the same holiday for a different reason.  Later we watched part of a show about Buddha, he told me he believes in the god that's called god and that he thinks Christmas Eve is Santa's birthday.

I celebrate the fact that people really might one day be capable of the things they claim when they are thinking Christmas.  I love the ideals we echo and hear echoed back by Charlie Brown and some woebegone sitcom dad-as-Santa right after he fails his family yet again, but gosh they love him anyway.

I've let so much of my anti Christmas cynicism go over the years.  I built up this anti Christmas-as-religious-holiday hatred for the whole of the holiday seasonbecause that's all I'd ever known it as and wasn't then able to separate the Christian beliefs from the holiday as a thing unto itself.  My faithlessness prevailed to the point that I went to the other extreme and wanted to reject this whole end of the year thing.  The kids have been a big part of me pulling back from the edge.

And now this year has been nice.  I don't have Momma's endearing if incessant barrage of cheeriness.  I also don't have a tree.  I do miss the lights and the smell.  I miss those keepsake ornaments that are special because of their forced rarity.  Momma wants me to spend Christmas eve at her house so I'll be there for the usual Christmas morning thing.  I can do this, and it will be good, though I'll bitch about sleeping arrangements.  The boys will want to tear into Christmas while I'll want to slink into a cup of coffee, but that's just another tradition.

Next year may well be different, and we'll look back from there and then look forward.  Another truth?  I've been using this holiday as the end of year celebration it's becoming to me.  I've been taking an honest look at some aspects of areas, and I'm finding some things I don't like, some paths I need to work my way off of, some edges I need to be done peering over, some cliches I've worn to nubs and need to dispose of. 

I want to build up a nice supply of desire-to-do-better that I can use to help power me over the course of what I'm going to call Twinnyleven.  I'm sure I'm not the only one.  And this time next year, as it's all been sucked out of me, I'll be somewhere not unlike this (in a good way) refilling my tanks.

btw, if you're in my neck of the woods Christmas day let me know.  Momma and I are working yet another tradition where we do our family thing and then start cooking for friends and other family that want to come by and make a time of it.  You're welcome to bring kids and booze. 

p.s. just read a bad review of the other PS2 game I got them, but for five bucks I aint about to complain.