23 December 2010

You don’t have to buy a gift to give a gift

Sometimes I wonder if I should even celebrate Christmas, given that I’m out as an atheist. My mom knows, y’all. That’s how officially atheist I am now. I didn’t even know that she knew - I’d been putting off telling her, I didn’t want to upset her. But, despite her growing inattention to detail (so that’s where I get it from), she’s caught on that all her kids are atheists. I told her it wasn’t her fault. She’s pretty liberal though and doesn’t think we’ll go to hell just because we don’t believe in a God (Oh! And my 5-year-old niece heard about God for the first time a few days ago. I don’t envy her parents having to explain that to her). So, this brings me back to Jesus’ birthday. I mean, I’ve gone to birthday parties for people I didn’t necessarily like before, but this is different.

But Christmas is my favourite holiday. I like it because it’s a family holiday. I like when my family gets together in one place because I like my family and it’s fun to spend time with them. Is that horribly cheesy? Whatever. I didn’t always appreciate my family, but I do now. I can’t give up Christmas, so I try to adopt the spirit of it while quietly ignoring the reason for the season. I think this is acceptable. It’s what most people do. And I don’t really care if it’s not.

So, getting back to the reason for this post, I’m trying to decommercialise my secular Christmas. I would like to tell everyone who didn’t get a present from me this year: I’m not a cheap Grinch-Scrooge-person. Well. I am. But that’s not why I didn’t get you a present. Last year my aunt, who is moving away from Christmas altogether, recommended What Would Jesus Buy to me. It’s a doc about the Church of Stop Shopping, which travelled across the US on a quest to stop the Shopocalypse. Basically, they want people to stop buying so much crap for each other and save their money and the planet. It emphasises the personal debt people get into, the harm that big box stores do to small, local business, the sweatshop labour that makes the cheap stuff we buy at the big box stores. It’s a bit all over the place, and the evangelical showboating of the Reverend Billy gets a little old, but I totally appreciate the message.

So, going back to all those friends of mine who didn't get presents from me: don't complain, it makes you look petty. You're all awesome, I wouldn't be your friend if you weren't, and you don't need a present from me to tell you that. Merry Christmas!! (Although, I will feel suitably guilty should any of you give me presents. I really don't need anything. Give the money to charity instead).

No comments: