I was listening to Cracked‘s most recent podcast talking about various Christmas movies and how they kind of suck. I kind of agree- I’m not big on Christmas movies. BUT, I disagree with their take on A Christmas Carol. Yes, it’s true that Ebeneezer actually does let Bob Cratchit have the day off and that’s laudable, but taking issue with Dickens for writing a polemic… well duh, that’s what Dickens did. That’s his bread and butter. No fair taking that away from him. And yeah, Scrooge is just trying to run a business… but that’s the point of the book. He’s too involved in his business to live an enjoyable life. Cracked was being too clever by half on that one.
They were also talking about Christmas Story, but I’ve never seen that movie all the way through, so I can’t comment except to say that I agree with their complaint that standing up to bullies (as the movie allegedly shows) never gets anyone anywhere if it’s not in the movies. Unless you’re a kid who makes it a point to hide your fighting skills (in which case you are not a child that actually exists, because kids that can actually kick ass tend to make that known right away) the bully is going to be less shocked that you fought back that you yourself will be when you realize that the bully wasn’t actually doing his worst to you. In fact, when you really make a bully mad, by fighting back, that’s when the real beatdown happens.
But I’ll cut short this trip down memory lane.
Anyway, Cracked was asking, what’s the point of Christmas? They came to the conclusion that the point is buying stuff, not any of the brotherhood-of-men stuff you normally hear about.
I agree. I rarely feel any more generous around Christmas but I tried. I did.
One year I got tired of giving and getting gifts and I said, “I’m just donating to charity on everyone’s behalf.” My father was nice enough to donate a goat to a family in the developing world on my behalf. I’m not trying to be sappy but that was one of the best gifts I ever got. Or didn’t get.
Other than my dad and my wife, everyone else hated this idea. No one admitted it, but the look on everyone’s face was like I had just told them their cat died.
So we stopped that. In my heart, I still resent everyone a little for not going along with that.
Don’t tell them I said that.
I’m just tired of getting stuff. I hate stuff, except for musical instruments, which only my father ever gets me.
So I’m not totally in agreement with Cracked, and also, they pooh-poohed the idea that it was a time for family. Which is absolutely wrong. I go the whole year without seeing some of my family. My parents divorced so I have to choose between families for Thanksgiving. And yes, most of my family lives in Southern California, within a two hour drive, but I’ve been busy these last couple years, and I don’t see them coming to San Diego either. It’s tough at our age to all get together.
And we’re from Southern California, which means we aren’t good at making or keeping plans.
My brother, for reasons that I don’t fully understand, decided he wasn’t coming to visit every year anymore, so I haven’t seen him since around 2009. We had some great times when he did- usually my father, brother and I would go out for drinks at least once, and that was really cool. I miss doing that.
So if I have to answer those dorks over at Cracked, I’d say family. Christmas is about family.