Gnosis

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The 2010 Holiday Season: a retrospective.

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This week sparks the official end of the holidays. I say holidays because really, it is not just Christmas, but Hanukkah and that ever so ignored and basically pointless spectacle of Kwanzaa.

whoville-express I say pointless because most blacks in the United States are Christians and well, Kwanzaa was designed as a replacement for a popular holiday (shall we call it Christmas Lite or Hanukkah Plus?) and never really took off as was originally hoped. The main reason why being that black people suitably pissed off at Christianity have a perfectly acceptable form of revolt to call their faith that was developed near Africa: Islam. Many people, though proud of their heritage, do not like to celebrate a watered down version of a hodgepodge of tribal traditions, especially if one’s ancestry is unknown due to human trafficking. But I digress, onward with the retrospective!

This year our family chose the Polyanna route as the times are tough and money was a major issue. Too add to that, most of us have grown tired of the obligatory purchase of needless crap that no one may want, or need, or have space to store. In effect we are exhausted with the idea of a holiday based on consumerism. The idea was to eliminate the excessive gift giving in favor of looking for better traditions, more classic forms of celebrating, and of focusing on being grateful for what we have and who we spend it with, all the while remembering those that are less fortunate. Unfortunately due to time pressures, lack of planning, a much smaller group celebrating, and general lack of leadership or volunteerism: we failed to create a more Normal Rockwell stylized celebration (see the picture). We ended up having a nice, albeit much quieter and calmer Christmas then has passed in many years and spent the time talking to one another and opening out gifts slowly and just relaxing. All in all good things and caused me to think about things that we may have missed over the years that could have added to the spirit.

DSC03735 norman rockwell christmas tree Family Tree and House Decorating: The last time I decorated the house for the holidays with my family as a group activity happened years ago as I was still in high school. I remember us, together joking and putting up the lights, helping each other with the cords, the tree shopping and mounting, the wreaths and various other decorations (stockings) that went up by the combined effort of all of us. This year, I put up the exterior lighting while my older sister placed the tree and decorated it. No stockings (we’re too old and fat and really..we should have put them up for decorative reasons), nothing special (the dog and cats like to play with) and no real togetherness in doing so (I put up the lights one day, my sister with the tree on the next day). It was a little disappointing as it just felt hollow as an activity. I later went to my twin’s house to help her and John set up some decorations, which ended up being me and John decorating as my twin had to work. Not too bad, but it felt more like a ‘this old house’ episode instead of the holidays.

 DSC03742 Popcorn Garland: This once staple of houses across America and parts of the world started as a way to celebrate while being poor. When I was younger I remember my twin and I wanting to do this and doing it a few years (even though the tree was way over decorated with everything!). This year we could have make garland while together, even if it amounted to a few strands.

It’s a Wonderful Life: somehow this classic of film holiday importance was not seen on TV, nor cable TV. Believe me, I checked every station I had to find it because I think it really underscores what was important in America before the shopping monster took over. Normally we watch National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, A Christmas Story, Scrooged, and The Grinch (all of which were being shown, too many times, and to the detriment of the older classics). Sadly it seems that the only movies and shows being show are the modern shop until you die category (Deck the Halls, Jingle all the Way). For those of you who miss this classic of American Cinema or who have never heard of it, you can watch it here: It’s a Wonderful Life.

christmas-carolers_~vl0010b080 Caroling: A once proud staple of the holiday seasons long dead from lack of interest, talent, or pure laziness. This year we had a young group of children that stopped by our house to sing for us, which were rewarded with some nice cash and some chocolates (I know, its a selfless act and not a job, but really these kids deserved it for trying to being it back from the dead and I wanted to encourage them!) Hopefully next year they will be a larger group and have a larger mix of songs to sing.

Games: the last holiday seasons my family ran some Christmas games while doing the Polyanna, this was very popular and was managed by my twin. Sadly this year there was no Bingo, song guessing games, prizes or activites. It was a good effort on her part, maybe next year I can help her get it going again and we can get more money into the pot for the prizes.

Potluck Dinner: We have never accomplished this but I thought it would really add to the season of togetherness. During Thanksgiving we ate at my twins house and managed to get close to the potluck as possible. It was nice, much easier on the host’s budget, and well.. sparked interaction among us to plan out meal accordingly. To have it added to Christmas would have been a treat. Maybe next year.

So tonight marks the last day I will have the decorations up for the year, tomorrow they come down and will be put into storage until next year, when hopefully we will have started a new tradition, recreated come classics, or figured out a way to be merry and festive without killing each other!

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Written by Josecito

January 5, 2011 at 9:09 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

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