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Doug Loves Sarah, Week 10 of 52

Christmas Times

Sarah and I have been talking about what we want to do for Christmas time, in our as-of-yet-unrealised familial future. Currently, we had out to her parent's place for Christmas Eve, and swap gifts, and it is nice but has a generally temporary feel as a custom. I am thinking next year we might try the opposite, with them coming over here to exchange gifts at night. I don't know. I kind of want to mix it up.

It seems that Christmas, as a holiday, has three basic parents. The first is the religious context. The second is the exchange of gifts, possibly tied into the religious context (at least claimed by fundamentalists to be linked to the gifts of the Magi). The third is the decorative context. This is largely claimed, now, by fundamentalists as well though exposes the pagan tangents, at the same time.

If you were to ask me which was most important in my family, or my future family, I would have said the gift giving, which implies the family gatherings and the swapping of love and commerce. But, after this year, that is no longer the case. This year, more than any other, I have seen people spend down to their last few dollars trying to collect gifts for everyone. I have seen people debate who in an office to buy for. I have seen people "eschew" gifts, only to receive hundreds or thousands of dollars from their family gladly. No, it seems that the Sisyphusian hill that is gift giving, in which it seems that you can reach a point of sanity where gifts and love equal each other in an anti-Grinchian enterprise is far too steep.

The religious context does not hold sway with me, at least not much. When I was as closely aligned with fundamentalists as I have ever been, I never quite took it as "Christ's birthday" and all that. I took it as being a time for people to sort of celebrating the glory of giving. But, giving has changed flavors to mean something else. Or, more painfully, it has become a divisive tool to separate the "saved" from the "Godless capitalists" in which neighboring houses war with the one on the left having Frosty in all his blow up glory and the on the right saying "Happy Birthday, Jesus" and featuring a horrific portrayal of the crucifiction (see, I sound like I am joking, but not so much).

What does this leave us with, the decoration. Tinsel and confetti, fake snow and a toy train? Bah humbug to that, as well. I find Christmas decorations generally gorgeous, the plastic invasion of the past couple of years nonewithstanding, but let's not make a holiday all about the artifice of superficial beauty. Could you imagine? "Daddy, what is Christmas about?" "Trees, honey, and stockings near a fireplace!"

No, it seems to me that Christmas in the house of Bolden will have to be about one thing and one thing only: moderation. A little bit of the spiritual side. A little bit of the gift giving side. And modest, but effective, decoration.

And maybe the Great Pumpkin, because, frankly...why the hell not?

Just giving Sarah a taste of what's to come...,

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