Merry Christmas

I have completed all of my Christmas shopping.  The presents have been placed under the tree, except for the ones Santa will bring Christmas morning of course.  My husband and I have made homemade candy and have decorated our home inside and out with festive lights and greenery.  My son is almost vibrating with excitement.

Notice I say Christmas and not holiday.  In my family, we don’t celebrate Christmas as the birth of Christ.  To many of you that will seem odd since I do insist on calling it Christmas.  There are many reasons for that.  Nowhere in the Bible does it tell us that Jesus was born at Christmas.  It also does not tell us to celebrate his birth, but to celebrate his death because he died for the remission of our sins.  My family believes in the Bible and believes if God had wanted us to celebrate Jesus’ birth it wouldn’t have been with gifts purchased at some department store and a fake deer with lights on it.  We celebrate it as a time to remember Jesus’ ultimate gift to us and as a time for family and appreciating what you have been given.

The reason I insist on calling it Christmas and not a “holiday” is that so many people are telling me I should.  Apparently people who don’t believe in Jesus Christ or don’t want to celebrate the holiday as a religious holiday get offended when I say Merry Christmas to them.  So?  When did we all become so easy to offend?  When did we all become so worried about possibly offending someone that we were willing to compromise our rights?  The opinions of the few should never outweigh the rights of the many.  If you don’t want to celebrate Christmas then don’t, but don’t tell me that I shouldn’t either because it offends you.  I wouldn’t be offended if you said Happy Hanukkah or Happy Kwanzaa.  I firmly support your right to celebrate how you wish or to not celebrate at all.  In fact, if you want to work right through the holiday so that the ones of us who choose to celebrate don’t have to, that would be wonderful.

This year, I opted for purchasing many things online rather than in the stores.  As I get older, I find that my patience wears thin much more quickly than it did in my youth.  I prefer paying the shipping fees to dealing with the crowds, parking and lines.

I do not shop on Black Friday.  Twice in my life I have been persuaded to attend this event.  Both times did not turn out well.   The first time was about ten years ago.  I went with my mother and was shocked by how everyone behaved.  I remember that one woman climbed into her buggy and then walked through other people’s buggies to get to some portable DVD players.  When one man protested her stepping on his stuff by putting his hand up to stop her, the woman’s husband grabbed the other man from behind and started hitting him.  My mother and I left.

The second time I attempted to shop on Black Friday was last year.  I talked myself into going in the hopes of saving money.  The aisles were packed with pallets full of merchandise and people.  I had several items in my cart and was walking behind two older ladies who were stopping at almost every pallet to discuss whether the items would be good for this person or that person.  It was annoying, but the line of people in front of them weren’t moving any faster than they were.  There was nowhere to go.  The woman behind me was becoming increasingly impatient.  I could hear her talking on her cell phone to someone and complaining about how these “idiots” were looking at everything.  She tapped me with her cart a couple of times.

I finally turned around and asked her to please stop hitting me with her buggy.  I got a glare, but no response.  Finally, she pushed her way into oncoming buggies, forcing others out of the way.  She ran my cart into the shelves to the right and the other people into the pallets.  As she passed me, I said to her, “Lady, I hope that you get everything on your list because that’s the true meaning of Christmas, isn’t it?”

This year I was almost hit three times in a parking lot, cut off in traffic, bumped numerous times by Christmas shoppers, ignored by several clerks, solicited by at least twenty bell ringers and had my car immobilized by a group of drivers who wouldn’t let me out of a parking space.  Why?  Because it’s a competition and that extra 2.4 seconds could mean the difference between a Merry Christmas and a dismal holiday failure, right?

Christmas brings out the very best and the very worst in people.  For some, it is a time of peace on earth, time spent with family and friends, warm cocoa and homemade goodies.  For others, it’s a time to buy your friends and family every item on their list as quickly and as inexpensively as possible.  As infuriating as these people are, try to remember that you should pity them.  While the rest of us are home with our families on Christmas sipping cocoa, laughing, talking and making merry, their entire holiday will be about how many days they get off work and the items they give and receive.  I wouldn’t trade my Christmas Day with anyone.  It must be very sad when Christmas has been reduced to a month of shopping and anxiety.

My holiday wish is that you spend this time with family and friends.  Whether you celebrate the holiday as the birth of Christ or not, I hope you all feel love and peace in your hearts.  I hope your day is free of anxiety and that you think of your fellow man and recognize that we are all in this together.

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