Yet, whine I will, because Christmas time is officially here - I know this because Dudes with Trees appeared all over my office complex this morning, decking the fecking halls - and I'm not sure who's annoying me more already: the Black Friday squad who camped out in hopes of being first in line for the doorbuster bargains, or the Charity squad who keeps complaining about how commercial the holiday has gotten and how we should really be pooling our monies to build a sewage system for some Third World village instead. I know Christmas is overcommercialized, I saw enough Charlie Brown holiday specials as a kid (and then smirked at how stores and the cartoonists capitalized on THOSE by selling the image of Snoopy on every possible piece of merch imaginable). And yeah, it's fun to laugh at people whose major bucket list item this week is the procurement of some cheap piece of gold-filled jewelry or even a big-screen TV, or who overbuy tons of junk for their kids that is unneeded and unappreciated, or who absolutely MUST go out and score some awful unwanted piece of department-store crud for everybody in their life instead of just writing checks. It's fun to look down on those people as they push and shove and elbow others out of the way, because it makes people who turned their back on the Commercial Zone years ago feel all homosuperior in their interior. And that, to me, is just as un-Christmasy as the folks trampling down the doors of the Wal-Mart.
I know a lot of the folks who gripe about the commercialization mean well and actually do a lot of good for others. They join organizations, they give of their money and time, they pass the plate when someone else is in need, they try to raise their kids with good values and not foster the "Me want" mentality. All of these things are awesome. But the trick here is that the folks I'm thinking of do this ALL YEAR ROUND. As well they should, because there's neediness in July just like there is in December. We shouldn't need some excuse of Christmas to act like people to each other.
I quit buying gifts for Christmas years ago. That doesn't mean I won't give anyone a gift or that I'm all militant about "no gifts." Like, if I see something nice for my mom I will get it for her, for Christmas. But I also might just get it and give it to her whenever I see her, for a surprise, or because I know she can use it right then, and who knows if we'll even be AROUND at Christmas time? Plus, I want to enjoy my Christmas, not be burdened with a bunch of shopping and wrapping and sending. I want to enjoy seeing friends, hanging out with people I like/ love, drinking, watching TV and generally relaxing. If I make it into a big shop-n'-wrap-n'-decorate fest then that defeats the purpose. FOR ME. If the guy next door gets a huge kick out of going out and buying some giant home entertainment system and sitting around watching it all day and into the night, maybe having all his friends over to watch it and drink beer with him while he brags about it, then who am I to piss all over his joy, just because it's not what I would choose to do? And I'm not going to dump all over the people who buy their kids a lot of Christmas toys, because when I was growing up my parents did like to buy me a lot of toys and I enjoyed getting them even though there were probably a goodly share of them I didn't need or didn't really bond with, and perhaps there were years my folks broke their budget a bit. Who cares. It made my folks happy and at the time it made me happy, even if just for a day. I don't think it turned me into a greedy little monster (some people would probably disagree with that but whatever).
I also quit feeling like I have to give charity donations for Christmas years ago. If I feel like giving someone a donation, I'll give it. We have charity appeals just about every Friday at my workplace and I often chuck a few bucks at those. All year, I send Paypal donations to all sorts of people I know and a few that I don't when they need it for medical bills, to recover from disasters, or to launch some super cool project. I don't feel like I need to make a big production out of my charity giving at Christmas and frankly, if you need a holiday or a big statement on being all against commercial poo-poo and WWJD? to motivate you to help out a fellow human once in a while, then you're doing it wrong.
I guess what I'm trying to say is, It's Christmas. If you don't want to do something, just don't do it. Do what you wanna do, whatever makes your socks go up and down. And skip the motivational messages. And leave the judgments at home. It's all right, have a good time, cuz it's allll right.