Have myself a muted little Christmas

Call me Scrooge.

Maybe I’m a Grinch.

Put coal in my stocking.

Do what you must do (tsking under your breath, public mockery, lighted doggy doo-doo on my doorstep, whatever), but I refuse to contribute to an eager-beaver, overly materialistic, Martha Stewart Christmas this year.

I have never been a fan of decorating for Christmas to begin with. My ex-husband willingly did all that during my first marriage, and I grudgingly took over those duties in my second marriage but only for the benefit of the bright-eyed innocent child with whom I shared a home who adored the pine scent of a real Christmas tree, loved the little Santa figurines on our mantel and dreamed of snow falling outside his window on Christmas Day. He did not, however, water the tree regularly or help put the decorations away, and I resented being responsible for preventing us from being the completely embarrassing neighbors who dump their piney fire hazard on the curb in February and take down their Christmas lights in March.

Since 16-year-old Caswell won’t be here to enjoy the decorations anyway, I am not decorating for Christmas. No tree, no Santas on the mantel, no lights. And no clean up. If Mother Nature decides to bestow us with a white Christmas, I won’t object. Too much.

I’m not Christmas shopping either. While I can appreciate women (usually, it’s women) who try to get their Christmas shopping done before Thanksgiving so they can enjoy the season, I abhor retailers who make me feel guilty for not being one of those far-sighted planners by putting up Christmas decorations in October, “leaking” Black Friday sales in November and forcing their employees to work on Thanksgiving (Sears, I’m talking to you). It’s a sickening testament to materialistic American capitalism. This year, it’s gift cards for everyone. My beloved friends and family all will get more for my money by buying gifts of their choosing after Christmas.

And I’m not baking for Christmas either. Really, why does December have to be a non-stop smorgasbord of high-fat, high-sugar empty calories? My mother and sister, with whom I have made Christmas cookies for many years, will be two states away, and fellowship with them was the only reason I make Christmas cookies in the first place (well, that and Russian tea cakes, but that just brings me back to the whole empty calories topic).

Here’s how I’m celebrating Christmas this year:

  • Christmas cards. Yes, I’m participating in this tradition because it involves paper, writing, reading and stamps, which I approve of at any time of year. (If you want to be assured of receiving my annual missive, send me your own Christmas greetings with a legible return address, and I will joyfully return the warm wishes for a merry holiday and a happy year ahead.)
  • Sushi on Christmas Eve. Tyler and I enjoyed this last year, and I want to make it a tradition because I love sushi, I don’t have to cook (and I can’t make decent sushi at home), and Asian restaurants are just about the only restaurants open on Christmas Eve anyway.
  • Church. Jesus is the reason for the season, as it is said, and I’m going to look for merriment and joy in worship instead of in the hallowed hallways of the mall.

If you’re already shopping, already decorating, already baking — good for you and your over eager capitalist friends. I respect your choices even if I don’t want to participate with you and, in fact, I’ll probably enjoy the fruits of your efforts in the form of a stronger economy, a pretty street and shared goodies at some party or another. If possible, though, please refrain from imposing the merriment of the season on me by calling me names (i.e., Scrooge, Grinch,Martha Stewart) and taunting me with lighted doggie doo-doo on my unlighted, unadorned doorstep. Thank you.

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