Our area had a HUGE snowstorm yesterday, forcing almost everyone to stay home, and life to slow down, which was a very good thing in my opinion. Dan couldn't resist venturing out though, and found about 3 different excuses to drive up into town.
But I'm really not that comfortable with it as it relates to materialism and this holiday season, because it's taken to extremes, and puts pressure on people who I know are in absolutely no position to indulge that. It's a kind of socially-mandated excess, and if you think that's extreme, just try opting out and see what kind of flak you get.
That said, I'm conflictingly not opposed to gift-giving, or specialness, or celebration, or even indulging in materialistic excess-- if you are in a position to do that. I don't begrudge people any of the wonderful trappings of financial success they are lucky enough to have if that's where they are in life. I don't even impose the usual rider of, "as long as they also contribute to charities and buy green, and are otherwise do-gooders."
Heck-- if I was rich I'd enjoy the crap out of it. But here's the thing-- I enjoy the crap out of where I am right now, and wish everyone else did too, instead of unhealthily pining for all the stuff that's shoved in front of us at bargain prices right now. (See??? Conflictingness--- I hate judginess more than almost anything else, and it too, is one of the things that puts a damper on this season for me, yet here I am-- judging this aspect of it.)
I just don't like that there is such an emphasis on consumerism that has attached itself to this season. Maybe I over-think stuff, but it's one of the things that gets me in a bad mood about Christmas. Since black friday though, I've worked to find the things I like about this time of year, and there are things.
Last night Dan and I sat and watched "It's a Wonderful Life" on t.v.-- one of our few holiday traditions. (Another conflict-- Traditions fly in the face of my non-comformity, but here is one I really enjoy.) We only watch it on regular t.v., partly because we don't have cable, and partly because it's left to serendipity then. We don't force it by going and renting it, and we watch it with all the commercial breaks that accompany OTA broadcasts. It's an event, in real time.
There is so much I love about this movie. If I was born at the right time, I'd have wanted to marry Jimmy Stewart for one, but so much more. I love the opening, where people's prayers from all over are being broadcast up into space, and the angels are played by stars that flicker when they speak. The premise that everyone is heard, and everyone is observed, and matters is something I still very much believe in, even if my concept of God & our own existence has shifted over time, to something so big no religion is able to contain it.
I love how George Bailey's life is continually getting bumped off course, no matter how hard he works, or what a good guy he is. Everyone remembers the end, when the people of the town all rally to provide the $ that solves his problem and keeps him from going to jail as the big moment of redemption, but really, it takes place before that, when he changes his mind and begs for his old life back. He chooses the life he had, with his family and world as he remembered it-- even if if meant he was screwed, and broke, and would never attain his dream of exploring the world, and would probably go to jail-- and he was elated to get it back-- before he even knew the $ had been collected.
Remember? "Merry Christmas you beautiful old building and loan!" as he ran down the street whooping with delight?
Today as I continue preparing for family and friends to come over for Christmas, and the cats eye the *tree* they are probably convinced was erected especially for them, I'm feeling better about the whole thing, and will try not to let *the other stuff* get to me.