Thursday, November 09, 2006

It's Just too Early to Start the Insanity

Yesterday at BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), I overheard a couple of ladies in the restroom talking about their Christmas trees. One lady said that she had just gotten hers up but it wasn’t decorated yet. The other lady said that hers was up and decorated and already has five presents underneath it. She said she wasn’t going to let Christmas sneak up on her this year.

I guess not!

Two Christmases ago, Husband and I were laying tile on our downstairs floors, so I didn’t bother putting up a tree. Last year I remembered that I had really enjoyed not having to fool with putting up and taking down all that mess, so I gave my tree and all the decorations to my niece. I didn’t miss it a bit.

When I heard those ladies talking yesterday, I realized just how free I feel not having to worry about something so trivial as decorating for Christmas. Now, if only I didn’t have to worry about shopping. (I blogged about this last year just before Christmas. Click here and scroll down to Thursday, December 15 to refresh your memory. Perhaps it’s early enough for all of us to consider some of these ideas and spare ourselves the headaches of Christmas shopping.)

Husband and I have discussed boycotting Christmas this year. We have even talked about taking a trip over to Asheville and touring the Biltmore estate, which neither of us have seen, instead of participating in the loot exchange. The only problem with this idea is the fact that some people on his side of the family will get their feelings hurt if we don’t show up. Is it better just to continue the tradition even though our hearts aren’t in it in order to keep peace in the family? We both are sort of leaning toward the trip, but we both are a little hesitant to be “selfish” this year, especially since we have the reputation of being the good kids. (Say, if any of y’all want to go with us to the mountains for a couple of days, maybe we could call it a spiritual retreat or something. Surely nobody could find fault with that!)

It’s really sad that what is purported to be a celebration of our savior’s birth has turning into an elaborate ordeal that involves rampant spending, tiresome and frivolous decorations, and has the potential to cause hurt feelings and resentment. Maybe this is the year to make a change.


m said...

Is Christmas with the fam only about the gifts? Won't you miss spending time with them?

JMG said...

M, my family all live within walking distance, so I see them all the time. Husband's mom (whom I'll call MIL) and her husband (whom I'll call A) live about five miles away, and Husband's siblings all live within an hour's drive (except for one sister). So we see most of them several times a year.

Christmas is kind of an ordeal because A's family don't much care to associate with MIL and her family, but MIL and A insist on having one combined Christmas gathering which they do at the Lion's Club instead of at their house. (The Lion's Club is located in a building which used to be part of the old schoolhouse where I went to elementary and middle school--so you can imagine just how warm and cozy it is with its folding tables and chairs!) We gather around noon to eat, and then we open presents, and everybody leaves by around three o'clock. It isn't a comfortable setting, either physically or mentally. Husband has pretty much said he'd just as soon stay home, but he doesn't want to hurt his mom's feelings.

Tony Arnold said...

JMG, have you read Grisham's Skipping Christmas? You should, you would love it.

The movie adaption was not good. The book was awesome. You might want to read it before making a final decision.


JMG said...

Skipping Christmas was an awesome book! I loved the way that the neighbors all pulled together at the end.

Actually, I could stand going on a cruise for Christmas. My neighbors won't object to our not decorating because hardly any of them decorate either. We've never had any incidents of men dangling from the roof by a strand of colored lights!

m said...

I say get the heck out of town then!

jettybetty said...

Would I like that book?

I have nothin'. We have the same issues. I would love to have some way to celebrate Jesus--without exchanging stuff we don't need. Last year, our family didn't do gifts and we just gave some goats and chickens through World Vision.

I would like something even more meaningful--but nothin' yet.

I've heard the Biltmore estate is quite nice ;-)!!!

JMG said...

JB, I think you would thoroughly enjoy that book. Email me your address and, in the spirit of your book giveaway, I'll send you my copy (once I find it!).

Here's an idea: Why don't y'all just fly on into K'ville around Christmastime, and we'll meet you and drive on over to Asheville and stay in a chalet in the mountains for a few days.

Tony Arnold said...

JB, you would like the book. If you like to laugh, you would like the book.

crittermer said...

JMG, I love reading your blog because you always seem to say exactly what I'm thinking, only you do a much better job of articulating it than I ever would. Amen to everything you've said! I've said that someday I'd like to start up a ministry that sends spoiled materialistic people on an all-expenses-paid trip to a third world country to work on the farm for a week. I don't see how anybody could have that kind of experience and then come back home and stress over their Christmas decorations.

And if you want to go on a "spritual retreat," we definitely live in a good part of the country for "spiritual retreats."=)

JMG said...

Critter, I think you do a pretty darn good job yourself. Thank you!