Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry GenXmas!

The holiday cards are still in the box on the dining room. My decorations are a mishmash of unrelated, non-themed odds and ends, most of which my lovey and I threw about the house 2 nights ago. Christmas Eve dinner is going to be soup because I just don’t have the energy for anything more elaborate. Gifts are modest. I started my shopping at 9 p.m. tonight—December 23rd. I'm left wondering when Christmas changed from being the thing we LIVED for all year long, into the thing that makes us pull our hair out. Our childhood wonder became adulthood I-wonder-how-I'm-gonna-get-everything-done.

Thankfully I am not alone, as proven to me by Facebook. A quick scan over the past 24 hours revealed the following:

“Now I am going to have to pull an all- nighter to get everything wrapped…”

“Don't feel left out…nobody got cards from me this year. it's called burning the candle at both ends.”

These were followed by status chantings of, “I will not feel stressed, I will not feel stressed…”

Seems the 35-42 age bracket is feeling a little less jolly and more stressy this holiday season. Not that anyone’s surprised. Haven’t we all been a little more stressy for the past two years or so?

Gen X is still strongly attached to Christmas and the holiday spirit, clinging (of course) to the holiday icons of our youth. Raise your hand if you made sure to catch A Charlie Brown Christmas for the 30-somethingth time. (Several retailers are now selling sad little Charlie Brown Christmas trees; no doubt who the target audience is.) Many of my friends are making plans to go out for Chinese food to recreate the Fa ra ra ra ra incident from A Christmas Story. We want our holidays to be lighthearted, filled with laughter and friends, and a release from the stress of the year. We can’t stand that the holidays seem to ADD stress to our lives.

More and more we find ourselves rebelling against the expected traditions of the holidays, sometimes to the chagrin of the older generations in our families. But it’s not the day itself we’re rejecting, it’s the long-held expectations developed over decades of mass media influence, retail suggestion, and old-fashioned guilt.

Yesterday an acquaintance suggested to me to “throw out the "supposed tos/what ifs/what might they thinks"”… and I said hallelujah! Thank you for telling me plainly what my brain has been screaming at me all along. We should all celebrate as we wish, and not be afraid to do away with what doesn’t fit us. Celebrate for joy and thanksgiving, and reflect on all that is good in your life.

So whether you’re opting for Festivus and its feats of strength, a solemn midnight mass, a rousing family dinner, or simply 24 hours of A Christmas Story, I wish you peace in your home, joy in your heart, and friends at your side.

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