I’d like the Christmas Spirit, Hold the Guilt

Day Three of my Hanukkah writing promise.  No sign of intelligent thought anywhere on this island.  Found a small spring for fresh water, so at least I won’t die of thirst.  But there is little edible vegetation and my hopes for rescue grow dimmer each passing day.  And I don’t even have a volleyball to pretend is my best friend, so I’ve been talking to sand.  Do you know how racist sand is?  I had to listen for three hours as it explained why everything wrong in the world is the Mongolians’ fault.

If there’s one thing Christmas has over Hanukkah, it’s the music.  Hundreds of carols from which to choose versus either a song about a top made of clay or a list of celebrities who are Jewish… fairly easy choice.  Okay, there are more songs for Hanukkah than just those two (click here to hear some), but Christmas still has the championship belt.  Yet as I listen to the radio station which has been playing Christmas carols 24 hours a day, 7 days a week since the day after Halloween, I realize there is another battle zone for the two religious holidays and Christmas is winning again.

Christmas is out guilt-tripping Hanukkah.

I know, right?  With all the stereotypical jokes about how good Jewish moms are at passive-aggressively making you feel guilty about every little thing you’ve done or not done, how could Christmas possibly be more guilt-riddled than Hanukkah?  Well in typical Christian fashion… by carpet-bombing social media and the airwaves.  There isn’t space to hear about Hanukkah guilt because every Christian everywhere is shooting guilt laser beams through Facebook, Twitter, etc. while at the same time blasting guilt messages through televisions and radios.

Have you seen this guilt trip?
santa gift

I have a few problems with this.  First, I can easily explain “Santa’s discrimination” to a child who got smaller gifts without destroying the magic of Santa.  Santa gives kids what they need most in their hearts.  Santa gave you a hat and mittens because he knows you need warmth so you can play outside in the snow.  Santa gave your friend a PS4 because he knows your friend needs something to do inside while his parents are working long hours in the city.

How hard was that?  Apparently really hard, and I’m some kind of super-genius who figured it out while typing an Internet blog in my underwear.

Second problem I have with that guilt trip is its complete ineffectiveness.  Your child with the hat and mittens is still going to “feel bad” when he hears about the awesome gifts other parents have given other kids.  His friend still got a PS4 and your son still got a pre-owned copy of Ace Ventura: Pet Detective on VHS.  There is no way to prevent the feelings of inadequacy you are so worried about.  Unless…

How about instead of guilt tripping all the other families in the world to conform to your level of existence to make your life easier, you take the better path of teaching your child the true meaning of Christmas?  It’s not about what you get, it’s about what you give… like time, thoughtfulness, and love.

*Note to those who don’t know me:  I’m upper lower class economically.  I’m not an upper-class snob, ignoring the struggles of the poor… I am the poor.  So if you thought to discount my argument based on a perceived stereotype – you lose. 

If that bunk wasn’t enough to salt my Christmas spirit, there’s also the over-played “Christmas” song by Band Aid called, “Do They Know It’s Christmas.”  Originally inspired by a famine in Ethiopia in 1984, this festering turd of a song has been re-recorded three times, but never improved.  It has the subtlety of a jackhammer when it reminds us, “At Christmas-time it’s hard but when you’re having fun. / There’s a world outside your window / and it’s a world of dread and fear.”

Yep… drink some eggnog and think about how the world is fucked up, Merry Christmas!

Charity is important, I understand that.  But trying to guilt me into depression is not the way to convince me to give.  My favorite radio station collects money to buy foster kids winter coats.  They never once employ the hyperbolic doomsday scenario, “Merry Christmas, enjoy that beer, and by the way kids are freezing to death as they walk to school in a ripped T-shirt which reads, ‘If only someone had given more money to my charity.'”  They just say, “Look, there’s a shortage of coats for these kids, give what you can.”

And people give!  Without guilt!  It’s almost like some kind of magical, unexplained event that occurs on or around December 25th.  Some might call it a Christmas Miracle.  So please, spare me the guilt-trips.  They are just contrary to the Christmas spirit.

Plus, I had a Catholic mother… so I’m pretty much immune at this point.



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