Monday, December 6, 2010

Waxing Philosophical

Now, the Matron is not adverse to Christmas. She was raised a good Catholic girl, skirt and all. In fact, she was under the assumption that if one (meaning she) were to become pregnant before marriage, her mother would kill her and, well, then there would be Hell. Interestingly, that assumption also included some kind of absolution for the murderous mother; only the pregnant teenager would be going to Hell.

Major childhood theological message: it is okay to kill pregnant teenagers.

Perhaps this is why the Matron waited until she was 33 to have her first child--in wedlock.

Wait! Digression (because she knows you love these). The Matron must not just wax philosophical but return to Friday's nostalgia. At her wedding, she's locked into eternity on film with a cigarette and martini, using her best Joan Crawford voice to proclaim children as the ultimate scourge on the earth and unwelcome in her life.

Six weeks later she was pregnant. But that's another story.

But back to the Christmas thing, which is the point of this meandering post. The Matron is indeed not adverse to Christmas, even as a practicing Buddhist and former Catholic. But this week, she was highly stressed about shopping: gifts for the teachers! the cousins! the postal worker! the newspaper delivery guy! the friends!

And in the midst of her anxiety of about shopping, the Matron had an 'aha' moment she's sure others have had: she was entirely focused on commerce, and not on spirit or friendship.

Christmas = consumerism.

News to anyone? Not to the Matron, but this week, she felt it -- felt the irony (um, didn't Jesus live barefoot or in sandals among the poor?), the blind gulp of purchasing that we all fall into so easily. It takes a fight to remove yourself from that beast.

But extricate, she will. Stuff fades away and falls apart. The bonds of love and relationships --and spirit -- last much longer (okay, that was an obvious sort of Nora Roberts call to emotion but sometimes there's just ten minutes for blogging).

Really. More spirit. Less stuff.


Anonymous said...


I've just won over my siblings and mother to not giving gifts next year. Instead, we'll donate to charity. (The kids still get gifts, just not the adults.) And while we were discussing it, a SIL mentioned that we might as well stop sending birthday gifts to each other's kids, since all they want is money (or gift cards = same thing). It's a step in the right direction. A phone call is much more personal.

carol said...

Several years ago my husband, two kids (28yrs and 26yrs) and I decided to stop with all the purchasing of "stuff". Instead we plan and execute a family trip over the holidays to some getaway. It started with Florida, then New York City, next was Jamaica, and this year we're headed to SoCal. The week we spend together is much more meaningful than some boots or sweaters or other "stuff" that will be forgotten with the first sign of spring. And as we have seldom (in some cases, never) seen relatives all over the map we get to include them in our adventures. It has been so freeing and rewarding!

Karen Jensen said...

More spirit. Less stuff. This will be my motto for the conceivable future.

The Other Laura said...

More spirit. Less stuff.
Yes! Yes! Yes!

Anonymous said...

I find more spirit with less stuff, too. You cannot wrap love or friendship.

Miki said...

AFAIK Christmas is why gawd invented Limoncello.


Xtreme English said...

lotsa luck on that one, matron....wait'll you have grandchildren who hanker after the time-honored "Christmas card" from grandma with that bill in it. If you can wean everyone away from stuff now, you'll have a prayer with the grands.

happy hols....