Wednesday, November 9, 2011

A Charlie Brown Christmas

I hate to post something about Christmas, with the holiday being more than a month and a half away, but I need to vent. What is with stores pushing the Christmas hype barely a week after Halloween? It makes me want to vomit. A couple of days ago I saw a Wal-Mart commercial advertising Christmas shopping and the possibility of buying things on layaway. Like seriously? Even worse, I was in doing my grocery shopping at Loblaws and there, in the bread/dessert section was Ready-to-Make Ginger Bread House kits. IT’S THE FIRST WEEK OF NOVEMBER. As a kid, I never remember it being this bad. I swear, if I walk into any store and hear “Jingle Bells” I’m going to find the manager and complain. I haven’t even started my Christmas shopping yet; like a normal human being I wait till it’s actually the correct month to start worry about that.

It’s this Christmas obsession that people have that reminds me of the message in a Charlie Brown Christmas. I think in all the hype and stress of shopping for the perfect gifts and the perfect Christmas turkey dinner, the majority of people forget the meaning of Christmas. The holiday season is not about the stuff and the gifts and the materialistic stuff. I love Christmas because I am able to spend meaningful time with my family, both immediate and extended. Yes I give and receive gifts each year. Yes my family have a tree and decorate the house with stockings and wreaths and holly. I’m not against celebrating Christmas at all – but it’s this ridiculous push by marketing companies to get people all worked up about sales and Christmas shopping in November that makes me nauseous. People’s stress levels go through the roof and they rack up their credit cards – for what? One day of the year. Seems a little ridiculous to me.

When Charlie Brown picks the sickly little pine tree over the pretty aluminum ones for the Christmas play, he is ridiculed by the other kids unless Linus speaks up. It is this sense of inferiority I believe that pushes people to go into overdrive during this time of year. They feel this need to have bigger and better gifts, the “perfect” gift for each person on their list. A Charlie Brown Christmas came out in 1965, long before the relatively recent commercialization of the holiday but even then the message rang true. Many people I know who celebrate Christmas do not practice any religion, when that is why we have Christmas in the first place; to celebrate the day that Jesus Christ was born. The gifts we buy are to symbolize the gifts the Wisemen brought to the child in the manger. In recent years, my family has reduced the number of gifts we give to each other. We’re all more or less grown up now and to be honest we pretty much have everything we’ll ever need. My brother and I both have jobs – if there’s anything we want we can go out and by it ourselves.

I love Christmas shopping, I honestly do. There is very little stress involved for me. There are very few gifts I have to buy each year: my siblings are pretty much my entire list. Ever since I was 8, on Christmas Eve, I get to open the gifts from my two siblings as a sort of pre-Christmas thing. It’s fun and heart-warming. I am very close to my siblings especially now that we are older and I love the thought that they put into my gifts last year. My little brother wound up getting me a $250.00 gift card to Chapters (my favourite store on the planet) and from my little sister I got a plush Yoshi doll (my favourite Nintendo character) and a matching ring and necklace set which I still wear everyday. I love shopping for my siblings. I managed to track down the elusive video game my sister wanted last year, and the look on her face when she opened it was amazing. My brother still lives in the American Eagle sweatshirt I got him last year as well. I haven’t quite figured out what to get the pair of them this year, so I will have to do some prying.

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