Can we avoid being the Grinch this year? This Christmas feels different, and so does Santa.
Mommy, why didn’t Santa visit me this year? Was I naughtier than Burny, who burned down the Christmas tree last week? Weeks and weeks- we wait for our Christmas tree. But Santa only goes to the lit houses with Christmas cookies and ornaments. Close your eyes sweetie, Santa will visit in your dreams. Every light that flickers off is because he is telling you to sleep. Every time someone laughs, he is telling you everything is ok. Two dimples mean two secrets are waiting for you. Close your eyes and know that Santa loves you.
Spotted: The grinch inside our bedroom walls.
This year, Christmas feels dead. I walk around the streets, and there are no Christmas carols. Many people cannot afford to bring home a fancy roast. Presents are scarce and limited to a lucky few. Perhaps, there were always homes where Christmas was blacked out but I was too young or naive to remember.
Where I live there is an economic recession now and one of the worst crises that hit our country, in addition to the COVID pandemic. This means that the majority of people do not have gifts or food (I think I didn’t exactly do the math).
Donating to charity is difficult this year as well since most people’s money is blocked by the bank through a haircut and forced spending limit. So, besides the religious aspect of Christmas, for kids, Christmas is a time of festivities.
Many people celebrate or just look at Christmas trees for the decorations and those screech-inducing Christmas sales and shopping.
This year, I didn’t hear the bells days before Christmas day. The carols were hiding behind the noises of screaming and silence. Silence is deafening. Let it not define us. Open your phone, put on a youtube video, you are where you choose to be.
Close your eyes and count to 5. Five days only till Christmas. But where are the Christmas trees? The singers are tired, the churches are closed, and food is scarce.
Restaurants are scary filled with the omicron. Is Christmas in a place? Is there anything left of this Christmas song?
I’m lucky I’m not a parent
This year parents are stuck in a hard place. They either need to be too realistic with their kids telling them that money is tight and there is no Santa or explain why some people have many Christmas presents and others don’t. Also, for families where a member (god forbid) has COVID, they will have a hard time understanding why they’re not meeting for Christmas.
Being realistic works for some kids- I can understand that. There is no right or wrong answer. But for some reason, I like to believe in the magic of this world, especially the giddy feeling that the holidays bring. Hence, I opt to explain things differently, even if it is twisting the truth a bit.
What I choose to tell kids
- Santa loves you; he sent you a present you cannot see.
- Close your eyes, hear the bells ringing – Santa is sending you a private message for you and only you.
- When you slip and fall that is because Santa is pausing time so that he can make it in time to the North pole.
- Sleep my darling, so Santa can visit you in your dreams.
Smells like Christmas spirit
I am one of these people who is a nut for Christmas. I go all out with the pajamas, hair, clothes, and start playing Christmas carols sometimes as early as Spring.
In my family, we leave the tree an extra month just because we love how it looks. Our tree was always so high that it touched the ceiling. My heart is content with seeing little creepy Santa statues across my bedroom halls.
But this year there seems to be a collective sigh of silence everywhere, which is deafening. In my household, there are no little kids now or newborns so the need to feel the holiday spirit is not as pertinent.
However, in many ways, this holiday is about the children for me. I find myself wondering how parents will explain to their children that they can’t afford to dress like Santa, so this is where the above poem came from.
Other ways to fill the holiday spirit: Top 4 Christmas movies
Due to my complete lack of holiday spirit and
seeing decorations on the streets and people shopping, I find myself turning to movies and tv shows for holiday cheer.
While some people do not have access to electricity due to power cuts, there are ways to use power banks to at least have movies playing in the background. Luckily movies and streaming are free (although questionable at times) but hey, let people have a pass on Christmas.
A list of my favorite Christmas movies:
1. Home Alone (1990)
There are many versions of this movie. But the first one has to be my favorite. The scene where Kevin Mccallister is jumping up on the bed, eating the ice cream- is the image I always get when I am home alone with nobody there.
2. Annie (1982)
“You’re never fully dressed without a smile” is a line that will stick with me till the end of time. I try to repeat that to myself every year. This movie is about an orphan who is adopted by a rich billionaire. Annie, the protagonist teaches him about love and charms his mansion with the Christmas spirit. Annie is an example of perseverance that makes me grin from ear to ear.
3. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Yes. There is something comical about seeing people try to steal Christmas. As you grow older, you start to wonder if maybe the Grinch was the only one who knew the real essence of Christmas away from materialism and decorations. Yay, back to the basics.
4. ELF (2003)
This movie never fails to make me laugh. I love to feel airy and light during Christmas. Without spoilers, it is about a human who is (oversized) a giant in comparison to his comrades, that he grew up with, aka elves. He always wanted to fit in-then realized he is human and goes on an adventure to meet his family.
5. A Princess for Christmas
Ok, I start getting corny and romantic and go to Hallmark to find my sappy side and curl up on a couch with blankets.
The lack of festivities is something everyone can resonate with this year. In many ways, nobody could catch a break these past two years. Don’t feel guilty if you are doing things differently or lazily. You are not forced to feel the holiday spirit.
You get a pass if you want to hit snooze on the holiday season this year. But also don’t feel guilty if you want to feel cheery. One thing this pandemic has re-asserted is that time is precious. It is all about perspective.
Finally, I would like to leave you with the below vignette or scenario.
Three large adults were chatting.
The first one asked, why is there a fat bell potty man in the chimney?
The second one responds, to try to rob your house of course.
The third man, enraged, silently shakes his head and says, he is sneaking in to leave a present.
At any other time of year, you would think this is a robber. Christmas is what you make of it. You can see the fat man as a Santa and food and presents as something to share.
And if you have none of the above, close your eyes and listen to the humming of carolers. When the humming fades imagine a lit tree. If there is no tree be your light and know you are loved.
How will you be spending the holidays this year?