The Fry family celebrates Christmas as many people do. Rachael and I decorate, we buy gifts, Ron cooks. It’s a day devoted to the best aspects of being together, digging the pretty lights, and having fun. It’s about caring enough to make all the food from scratch that day. It’s about being with family who doesn’t care that the recipe for an untried dessert turns into mushy yarg. So what? Right?
None of us are religious. The name ‘Christmas’ is a shorthand term for the day.
It’s also a miracle. I get to let go of the ghosts of bad Christmases past and wallow in the spirit of the day. And, there is a spirit. Poo and pah over the idea of a collective consciousness but I believe in it. When a bajillion people are all hoping for the best for everyone around them, I feel it. When the focus for a concentrated period of time is on wanting to be a kind and generous person, I feel it. When this feeling culminates on a specific day, I celebrate it. I dive in head first and blow raspberries on it’s belly.
In the past, as a sentient human being who lives in America, I couldn’t ignore Christmas overload and hype. It appalled me. I rejected December-frenzy. I clung to my dysfunctional brain chemistry baggage with a fury. For some mysterious reason however, the constant effort to refuse Christmas didn’t engender lasting satisfaction and peace.
As a possible antidote to the poison I ingested, I shifted to questioning Christmas trappings. Starting from zero, I tried on my own rituals for size. Some of them were wacky, but I believe in wacky. I also believe in self-determination and personal responsibility. If something is nagging at me inside, it’s my gift to fix it. This multi-year process of reshaping the holiday was cathartic and ended up being delightful.
This year, the gifts that particularly stand out for me are future experiences. I got a certificate for a cookery lesson that I really wanted. Ron and Rachael got an aerial silks lesson that they can go to together. The family got a killer food processor. I swear! We gather around it and get giddy over how fast it slices potatoes. Don’t get me wrong, I like the chocolate and all but these ‘experience’ gifts are teeny sneak peeks at the coming year’s path.
It’s January 1, 2013. A whole year of evolution ahead. I wonder what I will come up with for next Christmas. It may be time for some new wacky. But, maybe not as whacked as that gluten free cobbler recipe. That’s too much even for me.