Every year I lament the way I do Christmas. Too much food, too much last-minute shopping, rushing here, rushing there, not enough done for charity, etc. Every year I vow to make the next Christmas a better experience and I fail miserably.
This Christmas was no different. Because of, as they say, life getting in the way, everything was done last-minute and in a rush this year. And I hate doing it that way.
What I’d really like to get back to is what I call a Mississippi country Christmas. Those holidays spent with my relatives when I was a kid sure bring back fond memories.
They never seemed rushed, though I was a kid with no responsibilities, so while I was enjoying myself my parents may have been about to pull their hair out. But it couldn’t have been as bad as today. It certainly didn’t seem as harried.
You didn’t have to put up 10 million lights, have a tree in every room, throw and/or attend a dozen parties, buy gifts for everyone you’ve ever met (ditto with sending cards), bake 400 pounds of cookies and visit 30 different houses in the space of two days just to have Christmas.
And although Christmas has been commercial for a long time, it wasn’t anything like the crass, corporate event it’s become. The season didn’t start as soon as Halloween was over. We didn’t have a thousand different retailers coming at us from a thousand different angles, constantly trying for months to separate us from our dollars.
I found out the other day that the Christmas tree at a local mall was sponsored. Now, I don’t guess that’s necessarily new — they call it the Macy’s Christmas tree in Atlanta, after all. But there’s just something that rubs me the wrong way about draping signs on a tree, urging you to buy stuff.
Can you imagine if the virgin birth — the real reason for this particular holiday — were today? It’d be on live television, probably sponsored by a car manufacturer or a phone company. There’d be a crawler on the screen to make sure you could connect on Twitter and Facebook (#BabyJesus). Stubhub would sell VIP tickets with meet-and-greets. This close to Jan. 1, they’d probably tie it in with bowl season somehow and get Brent Musberger to do the play-by-play. You are looking live at the little town of Bethlehem …
I’m really tired of it how nutty we make Christmas. Give me some down-home cooking, a simple tree with gifts for the kids and a little quality family time. Some Christmas music playing softly and a cup of hot chocolate. Take a fruit basket to the old lady down the road who lives alone. Maybe go to the Sunday evening service for a little preaching. Forget all the rush, rush, rush and spend, spend, spend.
Maybe next year.
Email Nate McCullough at email@example.com. His column appears on Fridays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/natemccullough.