Friday, November 19, 2010

It's Not Your Grandmother's Holiday Anymore

When did the return of the gingerbread latte become the most exciting thing about the holidays? When did the Starbucks holiday cup replace Santa Clause and Christmas trees as my most meaningful holiday symbol? I don’t know. But it’s starting to seem like you have to be really old or really young to keep some perspective and appreciate the tiny little things about the holidays. And those of us who fall somewhere in the middle are focused on the money we don’t have for gifts or travel at this time of year, the lack of enthusiasm that comes with the realization that half of your family now lives elsewhere or we are preoccupied with thoughts of the coming new year and what we need to do better or bigger in 2011.
When I was a kid I would be waiting for the JC Penney Christmas Catalog to come out right about now so my brother and I could make an excel spreadsheet style chart using rulers, pens and plain white paper to input the item numbers, page numbers and product names of all the toys we wanted (Just so there was no confusion for Mom or Santa or whoever would do the shopping). For some of us Snowy Christmases have turned into strangely warm Christmases in the South and it just somehow doesn’t feel “right” and certainly not the “same”. Maybe we all need a trip to 5th avenue or Rockefeller Center or The Christmas Show at Radio City Music Hall to get our Christmas Mojo back. But can any of us really go to see the Christmas Window display at Macy’s without dreading the crowds on 34th street and cursing the tourists? Or maybe you have to have kids to recapture the joys and miracles again and enable you to take the attention off of yourself and not dwell on the fact that it’s not the “same” and allow you to focus on building new traditions, instead of selfishly clinging to old ones. I guess the key takeaway here is that like hip hop, house parties, playing outside, kids riding without car seats, riding bikes without helmets, record stores and scripted television shows, Holidays can’t remain the same. I guess we have to adjust.

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