Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas Day 2010

Merry Christmas.

I had all sorts of plans to review Christmas books in the week preceding today and do my first giveaway of a Christmas story written by a friend of mine and expostulate on my ongoing Christmas crisis.  Clearly, none of this happened, though I still do recommend that you pick up a copy of The Firflake by Anthony Cardno.

This is my first Christmas away from my parents.  I'm married now and we must split the holidays between Marckettas and Maurers, New Jersey and Wisconsin.  I've only been out of New Jersey once on Christmas before, though I was still with my family.

It's not bad.  I find myself comparing traditions - they're not so different, though the food is - and trying to come to terms with my Christmas crisis.  A Christmas Carol helped with this.  I bought the book years ago but only got around to reading it this year.  Parts of me found Scrooge not so different from most of us around Christmastime - he's greedy, self-serving, concerned with things more than anything spiritual.  The difference is that he doesn't expect somebody else to give him what he wants.  In some ways, it's respectable.

The Cratchits, of course, showed me what Christmas should be: family, togetherness, gratitude, generosity.  Not Pillow Pets and gift labels and long lists of "I wants."  It's a shovelful of chestnuts bringing joy, rather than some cheap toy that will be forgotten by the next Christmas.

Of course, none of this gives me the answer I'm looking for.  Yes, I want the Cratchit family Christmas but minus the poverty and plus the gifts but without the greed.  Crafts, yes, but how do I send my child off to school saying "Santa brought me a hand-painted ornament and box of cookies"?  The stuff aspect is inescapable if you don't want your child to feel unloved compared to his spoiled classmates.  Hence the crisis.

I'm feeling odd for Christmas day, in case you couldn't tell.  I started reading Rebecca, because that's what I brought with me on the trip, and it's fitting my state of mind perfectly thus far.  Beautiful language, a little wandering, no apparent point yet.  I'm just tumbling up and down the hills and valleys of the words and appreciating them for what they are.  If only I could do the same for Christmas.


  1. I think the really big challenge is to try and teach your kids to be gracious and giving all year round and make sure that sticks with them through Christmas. Yeah, gifts are awesome, but as long as you make sure they see the other, more important parts of Christmas - the parts about humanity and caring for each other - I think they'll be okay.

    Start a bunch of new traditions, bake cookies with them, help them make gifts for family members (the feeling they get watching the family ooh and aah over the gifts they made is way more exciting than you'd think), do something charitable that they can be a part of - the things they'll remember best are the things they did with family and for other people, and that's what Christmas is about, right?

    So says the future Jewish Auntie...well, future Auntie, currently get the idea...

    PS Don't worry too much about comparing their gifts with other kids at school - they all forget who got what for Christmas a week later anyway.

  2. I got married last year, but we had been splitting the holidays for a couple of years before that. It's always tough, and I do prefer spending time with my family much more, but oh well... I hate to say it out loud, though, because I feel a bit guilty. Thankfully, my books save me each time.

    Rebecca is one that I'm eager to read for 2011. That dark and Gothic view is definitely a nice place to be cushioned in during these moments in time. I love that kind of storytelling anyway, so it suits me well.

    I hope things will pick up soon - time is always a good remedy for getting used to a new routine. Happy Holidays and I hope the New Year is even more fun!


  3. You sound like me in the first years of my marriage: glad to be married, a bit nostalgic for Christmases past. In time you will have developed your own traditions with your husband, and things won't feel so 'odd'.

    I know just what you mean about the stuff; it all amounts to too much. You'll do it perfectly with your child. A box of cookies and hand painted ornaments sound real and wonderful, things that will be remembered long after the batteries wear out of a toy.

    I loved Rebecca, have read it several times in fact. What a great, great book.