Friday, December 25, 2009

Skipping Christmas

A few years ago, John Grisham wrote a crappy little book called “Skipping Christmas”-in it, a couple of empty-nesters decide to 'skip Christmas' because their college-age daughter isn't coming home that year. Instead they decide to take a cruise, leave the decorations in the attic, and avoid the malls. (It was made into an even crappier movie starring Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis called Christmas with the Kranks.) In theory, their self-imposed ban on the holiday seemed like a nice peaceful way to celebrate… but their obnoxious neighbors belittle and berate them for their choice. They manage to hold out until (spoiler alert), the daughter announces she really is coming home. Then mayhem ensues as the couple spins out of control trying to recreate their usual standard of holiday festivities, decorations and gift giving in less than a day. See the comedy? Sigh.

This year I decided quietly that I was going to truly 'skip Christmas'. Aside from the 'avoid the malls', no decorating, no holiday cards, I wanted no pressure to be anywhere, to do anything… just be. And when you step back, you see how overbearing Christmas has become. It's now a cliché to say “we've forgotten the true meaning of the holidays” because the “true meaning” still involves commitments and traditions that can easily spiral into too much to do, not enough time to do it and not worth the stress in the long run. So this year, I said 'no' to Christmas and 'yes' to peace and simplicity instead.

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