Merry Christmas

By , November 5, 2007 10:17 pm

Now that Halloween is behind us, do you know what holiday comes next? What’s that? “Thanksgiving” you say? Wrong…Christmas is next! At least it is in the eyes of the advertisers, the stores and the catalogs.

My Friday trip to Walmart to buy my daughter’s new fish was my wake up call that the next holiday is actually Christmas. Two days after Halloween, Halloween was GONE. The little that remained was relegated to three small shelves containing a few squashed nylon Jack O’Lanterns, several flimsy costumes too ugly to have made it into a shopping cart, and a few dozen bags of cheap, tasteless candy that is now even cheaper (and which will certainly be even more tasteless by next Halloween).

Halloween has disappeared, and in its place there are plastic Santas, jolly singing snowmen, giant inflatable snow globes, and animated wire reindeer made of Christmas tree lights. The toy department is bustling with extra employees stocking the already full shelves with even more cheap plastic Chinese toys. Everything there talks, rumbles, roars, or at least flashes multicolored lights.

To me, there are few things more depressing that the annual Christmas propaganda that seems to begin earlier and earlier all the time. Why don’t they just leave the decorations and Christmas carols up and going all year long? That would surely save some money and maximize profits too.

By now, you might have detected an ever so slightly cynical tone to my thoughts on Christmas. Yes, as you may have guessed, every year I struggle with Christmas and how to make it something other than a shopping and accumulation fiesta. As my children grow older, it is becoming more and more troubling to me.

If it were just me, I would prefer to simply skip Christmas altogether. How’s that for being a complete Scrooge? “Scrooge Unplugged.”

But it is not just me in the world, so I can’t merely stick my head in the sand. I have three children who want to (and should) “do” Christmas. So this year, I am determined to continue my progress toward a simpler, more meaningful Christmas.

With that depressing little intro, I announce a new series at Unplug Your Kids entitled “Christmas Unplugged.” By Christmas, I also mean Hanukkah or Kwanzaa, or whatever your personal over the top, year end festival of light might be.

So…if you are interested…stay tuned for my thoughts, and hopefully practical ideas, for unplugging your holidays.

Thanks to and photographer Clara Natoli for this photo.

11 Responses to “Merry Christmas”

  1. Tamara says:

    Oh Good! I am excited to see what you come up with. I have struggles with this every year and am never happy with how it turns out.

  2. amanda says:

    LOL about the year-round Christmas displays! I personally love Christmas and get a little wrapped up in the whole thing, but it does not include shopping. The “stuff” is depressing, especially when I think about people spending money they can’t afford in order to prove something about thier feelings and/or keep up with others or avoid disappointing people. There is so much pressure to connect with others through spending money, and that is where I say bah humbug. And then when I think about how it’s made and where it ends up I can become very scrooge-like indeed! I’m looking forward to your thoughts on this.

    Have you seen the book Unplug the Christmas Machine? The community center I used to work for did a workshop based on the book one year and it was pretty good.

  3. Mom Unplugged says:

    I am reading “Unplug the Christmas Machine” right now and am really enjoying it! I was going to write a post about it when I am done reading. That book is partly what inspired me to write about this subject.

  4. Jenny says:

    My husband just said last weekend that the retailers are trying to make the start of Christmas season start the day after Halloween instead of Christmas. I do enjoy Christmas, but the commercialism of it all is overwhelming at times. I ordered Unplug the Christmas Machine from the library, so I’ll be interested to hear what you think about it.

  5. Kate in NJ says:

    Sounds wonderful.
    I have been trying to go “no gifts”,
    but my family refuses…P is one of the last “young’ins” and we are drowning in their “love”!

  6. CelticMommy says:

    If you ever want a guest writer or more ideas, this is certainly something I would LOVE to help you on if you wanted it. Every year I try to get more done for Christmas as early as I can because I want to ENJOY the “holiday” season. Baking for fun, snowy pinecones, homemade paper or clever reuseable wrappings, music, you name it. I really despise the credit card debt and one-upping of gifts that the stores try to guilt many into. That’s not what it’s about to me.

    Okay, done ranting now.

  7. Daphne says:

    I wish the commercial onslaught of christmas had started after Halloween! I wet to Costco in mid October and had to listen to “I wants” for 45 minutes, thanks Costco.I must say I do love Christmas, just not what the retail world has turned it into. When people are so stressed out and desperate that they’re fighting to draw blood over a tickle me elmo (or whatever the craze of the year is…. forgive me I’m outdated by a decade I know) something is seriously wrong. Give me some home made fudge and cookies and perhaps some nice “old fashioned” decorations and I’m one happy camper :)
    Sorry I ranted too. I’ll get off my soap box now.

  8. Andamom says:

    Fabulous. I abhor clutter and the idea that kids deserve plastic toys. For a long time, I have suggested that my friends and family donate in my name to charities that I approve of — One year, my husband donated a water buffalo (from Heifer) in my name — and I set up a fund for my wedding that people could donate to (on the website). Yet, my family still doesn’t understand that we don’t need anything — and want to buy us tangible items that inevitably we don’t want. People don’t need to buy into materialism for any holiday — they can go out on a limb and do what they want. Make your own traditions, celebrate how you wish, ignore the plastic faux crap in the stores — and jingle or shimmy to your own beat I say.

  9. Andrée says:

    Good! Little by little I see more and more people fighting back. I saw this at Obsidian Kitten today that you maybe should look at?

  10. […] tree.  It was easy, three pieces to put together and lights already on it, but Christmas seems artificial enough to me in so many ways, without a fake tree too.  Plus, it always felt kind of nasty to touch and probably oozed all […]

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