Holiday Observation #1:

It is very difficult to remove yourself from a holiday. I am continually asked “Is your tree up yet?” “Are you done decorating?” “Got all your shopping done?” “Are your Christmas cards sent yet?” These are questions that can’t be answered with a simple “No” or “We’re not celebrating the holiday this year” without it leading to multiple follow up questions and sometimes long drawn-out discussions. People want me (perhaps need me) to justify and explain why. I’m not angry, although I’ve grown a little tired of the third degree interrogations. It’s interesting how much we assume about others and how little we are willing to understand and accept (or capable of understanding and accepting) that not everyone is like us nor wants want to be like us. On the other hand, it has been incredibly wonderful not diving into the merry melee and madness. So far, I haven’t felt any pangs of regret. We shall see what next year brings.

Holiday Observation #2:

It seems like those who decry the alleged “war on christmas” are the ones who are actually feeding the flames of the imaginary battle. I have read more “It’s christmas and only christmas and if you don’t like it or agree f**k you” comments and posts on Facebook than I ever remember seeing before (not literally these words but clearly this sentiment. And not one anti-christmas post, for the record.) I finally spoke up about it on one wall. I merely pointed out the message seemed a bit anathema to the intent and spirit of the season and that being inclusive is never a bad thing. Several people disagreed with me, and I wound up being called an “anti-christian, Europhobic racist,” all because I said maybe we should try to be more inclusive and spread cheer not animosity. (Oh, and I might have pointed out the irony that some christians are angry about people “taking the christ out of christmas” and “stealing their holiday”, given the fact that christians subsumed many of the traditions of the season from pre-existing secular and pagan celebrations, but I digress.) Go figure. Guess being out of the holiday rigmarole I forgot that the holiday is about spreading seeds of dissention and hate and disgust for other cultures, beliefs and ways of life. My bad.

Financial Observation # 1:

When you grow up near or at poverty level and you struggle for most of your adult life to make ends meet and get ahead (or just stay afloat,) it is VERY hard to accept when you actually start making real financial progress and no longer have to worry about the basics. We have been doing moderately well for a few years now and I keep waiting for the hammer to fall. I can’t seem to trust our income or financial status, as if out of the blue it is all going to be taken away or disappear. I worry about having nothing to worry about. Perhaps it’s because of our current economic slump and having read about and heard so many horror stories of people, who once had everything, losing everything: jobs, home, health insurance, etc. What choices am I making that will prevent me from experiencing the same thing? Can I truly prevent that from happening to us? We try to live within our means, not use credit, save money and pay off debt, but I wonder sometimes if it’ll all just come crashing down around us. Which makes the thought of buying a house (something we’ve recently decided to look into) terrifying to me.

Financial Observation #2:

It is easier to sell something than to give it away. We listed our futon on Freecycle for a week. I included pictures and dimensions. It is a very nice futon (wooden frame, thick solid mattress) that was given to us. I got several nibbles and scheduled two separate days and times for two different people to come get it. Neither person showed, nor had the courtesy to send me a “we changed our mind we’re not coming after all” message. So my husband posted it on Craigslist for $125.00 and it sold the next day and was picked up the following day. Lesson learned.

Vacation Observation #1:

The best kind of vacation is when you plan NOTHING except where you’re going and where you’re staying. Play the rest by ear. Schedule nothing and go with the flow. Not having a schedule or plan truly allows you to enjoy yourself, relax and have the best time, doing whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it.

Vacation Observation #2:

The hardest part of soaring so high from a fantastic vacation get away is how far you have to fall when you get back to “real” life. (aka “the job.”)

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9 Responses to Observations

  1. The holiday ‘war” is created as you say. It’s a rally cry for people who are closed minded, xenophobic, and terribly afraid of losing what they feel they have a right to. It would be easy to shrug it off as delusion in one person, but there are so many of them it would be dangerous to do so. We all have to push back, educate, and deal with the fear mongering as it pops up.

    On all the other stuff, go with your gut Sassy! I’m willing to bet your intuition and experience won’t fail you.

  2. fermat says:

    About the selling of the futon; it’s all perceived value. You can easily get rid of something on Freecycle if it’s small(ish), but something personal, like the futon, needs to have a value added to it. Beds are intimate objects, we spend 1/3 of our lives on them, so giving the futon a price gives the perception of value. Giving it away implies that something is wrong with it. It could have been moldy or infested (not that you would have anything like that).

    That’s my convoluted answer.

  3. JustAMike says:

    I enjoy the “holiday season”, not for the religious aspect (because I’m not a “believer”), and in spite of the crass commercialism, because the festive atmosphere helps to brighten the darkest days of winter. I think that is why the pagans celebrated at this time of year too.

    I enjoy Hallowe’en festivities too. And Thanksgiving. And the Oscars. Any reason to connect with family and friends and do something a “little special”.

    We should all be free to observe our own traditions in our own way without an inquisition.

    I wish you peace and joy ALL year round!

  4. Richard says:

    Hi Sean. First, welcome back to blogging. And second, I completely agree with you about the holiday observations. I haven’t celebrated Christmas for the last several years, and it gets quite annoying having to explain why. However, it’s also a great relief to not have to deal with that ridiculous pressure that the holidays bring. It’s funny how all those who don’t understand why I don’t want to join in the “holiday cheer” are the same ones who are constantly bitching and complaining about all the pressure they feel because of the holiday.

    As for the Christians who complain about people taking Christ out of Christmas, my response to them is to stop shopping for gifts, don’t put up a tree, etc, because they are just as guilty of doing the things that they claim are anti Christmas as everyone else! Comments like “for you to buy your family gifts makes you guilty of giving in to the temptations of Satan” and that usually shuts them up. Hehehe!

  5. Shawn says:

    On another note. I am a Realtor (20) years now and have been an investor for about 30 years. If you want to e mail me anytime about the home purchase thingy I am most willing to listen, answer, advise or hand hold as a friend from miles away. I started with nothing and have always done well with real estate. As someone once said ” buy land, they stopped making it!”

  6. Shawn says:

    Although not a bible scholar, I seem to not remember Christmas being mentioned as a holiday anywhere much less a specific date of December 25. So I celebrate ALL of them. The menorah looks great over the fireplace and the tree looks nice in the corner by the window with it’s 5 pointed solstice star on top. I agree with you that it is way too commercial and is best left to be a quiet time for peace. I do like the decorations so I put those up and have a couple close friends for dinner and laughter. We stopped the gift giving and commercial craziness years ago. The decorations are left from that era and in southern California give me that winter holiday feel as we do not have the winter weather.

  7. All so true! This whole “war on christmas” and “war on christians” makes me sick. I enjoy fantasy, so I am celebrating christmas, but not in an insane way. I still deck my halls, but I like color lights and glitter. Am I too gay? 🙂 Love you!

  8. wcs says:

    Have a holly jolly non-christmas! But you can celebrate my upcoming birthday with a cosmo toast.

    All my life people would ask me, “Don’t you feel gipped having your birthday so close to christmas?” My standard answer, which evolved quickly during my teen years, was that, no, I didn’t feel gipped at all. I was rather touched that people did so much decorating and singing and cooking to celebrate my birthday. That and a smile usually ended the questioning.

  9. JimA says:

    I agree about the holiday comments. There are a few holidays celebrated in December all of which are not religious holidays. But everyone seems rabid about making it about only the christian holiday. So annoying….

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