Thursday, December 8, 2011

Blue Christmas: necrophilia for the season

This started off as a search for snow globe gifs. They all looked cheesy, and for some reason Elvis kept coming up. So the search was on for Elvis snow globe gifs. That didn't yield a whole lot either, but some of the non-gif/non-snow-globe ones were interesting. Kind of reflects what the season is all about.

Wake up, it's Christmas!

I do try to get into the season. Not always easy, for there's something in me that resists. It's not just the Charlie Brown feeling that Christmas has become too "commercial" (and this was a sentiment first expressed in 1964!). I feel swept up in something I don't want to be swept up in, at least not all the time.

But I do try. I made shortbread yesterday, and if I must say it myself, it was melt-in-the-mouth heavenly. But full of butter, and not much good for my resolve to lose weight (for I need to lose a lot of weight, again).

I don't know why exactly this ad grabs me, but it does, and I was glad to see it on YouTube. I remember that rambunctious "wake up, it's Christmas" feeling when I was a kid. And yes, a lot of it was about "things".

All these gifts are supposed to be, what? A remnant of the Magi and their gold, frankincense (sp.??) and myrrh? We're getting farther and farther away from such symbolism, unless we happen to be churchgoers (talk about remnants!). Or is it Santa, his insistence on flying over us and landing on each rooftop to give just the right gift to the right child, but ONLY IF THEY'VE BEEN GOOD ALL YEAR??

Talk about a tool for parental manipulation.

So if it isn't about the Christ Child, isn't even about Santa and his explosions of toys in particular, then what IS it about?'

I'm tired of it, kind of. No, not kind of, definitely. We're scaling down gifts now, in fact attempting to do away with gifts for the adults altogether. It's hard, because there's this entrenched custom for them to give to us, and if you don't reciprocate you somehow feel chintzy.

You know the feeling.

I'm trying to start a new tradition, and I've done it twice so far, of making charitable donations in the person's or family's name. Myself, I'd love receiving this, the feeling that the money that might have gone into yet another blender or Body Shop gift set will actually do some good. The Body Shop stuff doesn't even get used, and the blender is likely to be shoved in the very back of the cupboard along with the waffle iron that you used maybe twice.

The kids, well, we're still giving them stuff, but the emphasis is changing, we hope. We're giving them tickets to activities they might enjoy, science lab kits (for Caitlin), things they can DO rather than "play with" (i.e. ignore). I've knitted things, made things for them. I'm giving a ream of paper to Erica so she can build more stately mansions with it (and I wish we had photographed the Parthenon she built with rolled-up paper and tape). They don't need more Barbies or Matchbox cars or train tracks. They've got all that stuff, too much of it.

For all that, I don't feel well today, and it occurs to me I have the same acid stomach I always have in December. I just have to get through it. Not that January will be a sweet time, necessarily, but at least all this pressure will be over.

Pressure? Yes. To go along with it, so you won't look Scrooge-y or Grinch-y. Spend, spend, spend: and not just money, but time, decorating, baking, doing all those things that I guess we should be enjoying more than we actually do.

So I don't know exactly why I like this ad so much. I think it's the bouncy energy of it, the song and the swift half-second montage of shots. Some ad people are genuises at putting it all together. I loathe almost all TV ads, but once in a while one comes along (like the Glade one with the animated cookie reindeer) that delights me.