Thursday, December 15, 2011

When the Economy is the Grinch that Stole Yule, Take a Lesson from Whoville

This year, as with the last few years, the holiday season is tainted with the depressing and hard-to-fix problem of economics. There isn't the money to buy the presents. There isn't the money to spring for the trips to see other family. There isn't the money for the holiday feasting. There just isn't the money...

Now my family does not do materialism very well, but we exchange a few gifts. Some people have spending limits this year of just $150-300. We stay around $25-50 no matter what. But this year, even $25 seems to be in short supply.

We scrimp and save. I gave up on a "big" gift from my parents so that Stormie could get the gift he wanted (a gun, to hunt... meat - which will theoretically help us save on buying groceries). My gift ideas for my immediate family has been completely practical - a winter coat for myself, pajamas for Bug, pants for Ladybug.

I shop for deals and cover my eyes before clicking the "order" button, just because I'm not sure we can afford it. I collect Swagbucks to earn gift cards to offset - partially or completely - the cost of shopping. We buy only one or two holiday decorations each year - and pack everything away carefully for the years to come. We are going to make our gingerbread house from scratch rather than buy a kit (that doesn't taste good anyways).

Some of our holiday traditions this year include (or have included): putting up and decorating the Yule tree together, burning a Yule Log candle when we eat our Yuletide feast, discussing our DYGs (Dark of the Year Goals - see my blogs on the Dark of the Year)...

The thing is, and I have discussed this with many people over the past weeks, that the most memorable holiday traditions are often the ones with little or no cost. All kids remember the times they played games all night with their family, the drives around town looking at the lights and decorations, making cookies and crafts together. Kids don't remember what they got for presents six months later. They remember the time they spent together with family. It's all about the togetherness. It's all about the love.

To this end, I've decided to not stress about presents (after all, Gramma & Grampa will certainly buy more than we have room for), not stress about parties (school parties only last an hour anyways), not stress about travel (we'll get there when we get there - why add the pressure of holiday-time travel?), not stress about what anyone, outside of me and Stormie and Bug and Ladybug, thinks of whether we are celebrating "enough" or "appropriately".

Who cares about how much money I spend on the holidays, except the giant corporations with one eye on the bottom line and their hands reaching for my bank account? Oh, and my overly money-conscious brother, but I don't care what he cares about anyways.

Speaking of Who's, I have a holiday playlist (I *LOVE* Christmas songs) that has the song of the Who's. You know, the one they sing on Christmas morning, even after the Grinch stole all the STUFF and thought that would stop the celebration from coming. Then the Who's sing anyways, saying "Christmas day is in our grasp, So long as we have hands to clasp" and "Christmas day will always be, Just so long as we have we". The singing swells the Grinch's heart destroying the grumpiness of that grump and inspiring him to become heroic and generous.

I think the way things are going, the economy's oh-so-slow recovery, the protests over corporate and government corruption, the overt, peer-pressure MATERIALISM of the holiday season, we are all in danger of becoming a Grinch, or of letting the Grinch-economy steal our holiday. But we can embrace the Who's song and declare that this holiday is about celebrating US, celebrating FAMILY, celebrating people, not STUFF.

We have hands of friends and family to hold. We have us and all the happiness that "us" can be. Pull out all the stops this holiday season and concentrate on FUN and FAMILY. The corporate bottom-line will return Christmas once it sees that we don't need the "Who pudding and rare Who roast beast" or the noise-making toys and bleepity-bling.

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. Maybe Christmas, he thought... doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps... means a little bit more!"

"And what happened, then? Well, in Whoville they say - that the Grinch's small heart grew three sizes that day. And then - the true meaning of Christmas came through, and the Grinch found the strength of *ten* Grinches, plus two!"
"Welcome, Christmas, bring your cheer. Cheer to all Whos far and near. Christmas Day is in our grasp, so long as we have hands to clasp. Christmas Day will always be just as long as we have we. Welcome Christmas while we stand, heart to heart, and hand in hand."

Lyrics to Welcome Christmas:
Welcome Christmas come this way
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome Christmas, Christmas day
Welcome, welcome fahoo ramus
Welcome, welcome dahoo damus
Christmas day is in our grasp
So long as we have hands to clasp
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome Christmas bring your cheer
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome all Whos far and near
Welcome Christmas, fahoo ramus
Welcome Christmas, dahoo damus
Christmas day will always be
Just so long as we have we
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome Christmas bring your light
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome Christmas, Christmas day
Welcome Christmas, fahoo ramus
Welcome Christmas, dahoo damus
Welcome Christmas while we stand
Heart to heart and hand in hand
Fahoo fores dahoo dores
Welcome welcome Christmas Day...
Welcome, welcome X-mas day....

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