Friday, December 11, 2009

And a Bah Humbug to you, too!

Ok, I do realise we're in the Age of Questioning, where the discerning and CONSCIOUS parent questions EVERYTHING concerned in raising their child, but my goodness some people need to "stickectomy"!

It seems some parents are dead seat determined to take every ounce of fun out of childhood. I'm not just refering to the safety conscious, this time, who won't let their kids do or have anything that might in any way cause them any kind of harm, but also the parents who are determined their kids won't have any form of stimulant, be it sugar, caffeine, television, brightly painted-plastic toys, or scary or silly stories...

The latest, Anti-Christmas craze is a real downer, I have to say.

Fair enough, if you're not Christian, you don't want to be hypocritical. And also fair enough, there is a LOT of capitalist, consumerist hype around Christmas, but honestly folk - CHILLAX A LITTLE - there is still a lot to be gained from Christmas, and there is a social benefit to children in being allowed to participate in a society based activity.

I so often hear, it takes a village to raise a child, and yet I so often SEE parents refusing to allow their children to participate in village life because they, themselves, feel it's not ideal enough.

In this household, we don't have letters to Santa or wishlists, and Santa doesn't bring presents, but that's not because we believe engaging children in the Santa-myth is the same as LYING to them. Neither do we believe that having or interacting with Santa representation is the same as buying into the Capitalist Coca-cola Santa Consumerism Movement (CCSCM). It's simply a matter of it never having been part of our own childhoods.

My mum pushed the Icelandic Christmas tradition, so we grew up knowing about Santa, but also having this 13 Christmas lads to revel in... I'm not 100% sure what Dave's childhood Santa traditions were, but knowing his parents, who were quite self-conscious, I image Santa and reindeer footprints were not found on Christmas morning in his house. It was a much more sober affair - which, buy the way, left him not seeing much magic in Christmas at all, and me having to re-create it all for him at the age of 38 (thank you very much ILs ;P)...

So, our kids know all about the Christian impetus for Christmas. They know about the old pagan beliefs as well. They know about St Nicholas and his work. They understand that the Santas in shopping malls are representative of a spirit of kindness and charity. They know mum and dad adopt that spirit when giving them presents at Christmas and everyone is Santa to everyone else in that sense but that it's not all about the material giving of gifts, there is also the emotional and spiritual giving of kinds and charity, and that Christmas is but a reminder and celebration of this spiriht which should be adopted all year round, just like God gave the Earth Jesus, and The God and Goddess gave the Earth the Sun (in the northern hemisphere where Yule is a celebration of the coming light). We also adopt a very Icelandic tradition of NOT telling our kids that Santa isn't real, or that anything not straight-down-the-line tangible is not real. Afterall, do you KNOW Santa doesn't exist in some form? Do you KNOW there is not Spirit of Christmas (God or oversized gnome alike) that doesn't intervene to create everyday miracles... If so, then you certainly know something many of us don't - and we'd rather you DIDN'T tell us - we like our little self-delusional world, it's pretty and full of hope and love.

They have it all, our kids.

dIt seems to me that a lot of this rejection of Christmas as lying to children and Capitalism pushing Consumerism, is actually turning a lot of parents in the miserly old scrooge's that the Spirit of Christmas (from whatever perspective you look at it) was trying to do away with through kindness and generosity and opening your heart to the rest of the village.

But fair enough, you can't MAKE people be less critical and less closed off to all that is around them. You can't make "glass half empty" types see that the glass is actually half full, unless they WANT to see it for themselves...

You can have a non-lying, non-consumerist Christmas WITHOUT all the bile and vitriole, and you CAN let other people continuing "lying" and consuming to their hearts content, if only you dig deep and find some of that kindness and generosity that the Spirit of Christmas is all about...

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Good Job!