Hello. I’m Jenster, But You Can Call Me Grinch

Tis the season to be jolly… whatever. Christmas is not my favorite holiday. Thanksgiving is actually my favorite holiday. There’s no gifting pressure, the food is delicious, and I grew up enjoying most Thanksgivings with grandparents and a large number of aunts, uncles and cousins. Good times.

Christmas, on the other hand, inspires so many conflicting thoughts and emotions. I do enjoy the pretty lights and tasteful outdoor decorations. Heck, I even enjoy the yards that look like Christmas threw up. But to actually decorate my own house is just more than I really care to invest any time in. Maybe next year…

I’m not so into the gifts. I think it’s preposterous that people go into debt, maxing out credit cards and taking money out of sparsely funded savings accounts just to buy things for other people that they probably don’t need anyway. How does that fit into the “spirit of Christmas”?

And what exactly is the “Spirit of Christmas”? Isn’t Christmas supposed to be a celebration of the miraculous birth of Christ? Okay. I know Christmas is not a Biblical celebration. In fact it was created by the Roman Catholic church in the 5th century to compete with the pagans’ celebrations. Jesus was not born on December 25th. Duh. In fact, very little about Christmas is truly Christian. EXCEPT for the fact it is supposed to be an acknowledgement of one of the greatest events in the history of the world, regardless of when Christ was actually born.

AND it’s one of two times in the year that churches across the country, probably across the world, are packed. Regardless of how you feel about Eastmas Christians, that’s still two times in a year people are hearing about God’s love and thinking about Jesus when they maybe wouldn’t otherwise. So how can that be a bad thing?

Then again, Christmas is so blasted commercialized that it inspires righteous indignation of epic proportions on my part. Holiday decorations out with school supplies in August? Come on, people! Why not just leave them out all year long, for cryin’ out loud. Though I do always pick something up after the holidays when they’re marked ridiculously low, only to put them with the other decorations I’m too lazy to bring up from the basement.

This year we’ll be spending the week with Todd’s family. His brother and sister-in-law and their twins will be joining us at his parents’ condo in Palm Springs. I’m looking forward to seeing everybody, but most especially those babies! They are 18 months, which is one of my favorite ages. So cute and so much fun! That brings me joy. So much more than any gift ever could.

Presents will be under the Christmas tree (which, along with mistletoe, holly berries and wreaths have pagan roots) and children’s eyes will light with excitement. Or maybe not. My kids are too old to be overly excited and the twins are too young. And lest anybody think I’m unappreciative, I assure you I’m not. I love getting something new as much as anyone else. I always like the presents I get. BUT there’s really nothing I need.

I would so much rather have that money spent on someone who has real needs. Coats for people with nothing, food, medicine — there is so much poverty in the world. While I do like my gifts, there’s a certain amount of guilt that comes with them. I get something else to… make me feel good/entertain me/decorate my house with/whatever – while… a malnutritioned child somewhere goes yet another day without food/a woman somewhere sells her body to keep her family alive/a student goes to school half frozen because he/she doesn’t have a decent coat/fill in the blank.

If those of us who are disciples of Christ are going to claim Christmas as a Christian holiday, shouldn’t we act like Christians? Shouldn’t we take care of the widows and orphans? Shouldn’t we feed the hungry and clothe the naked? I realize that not one of us can wipe out poverty and make all the unpleasantness of the world go away. But if every person on this planet who spends $100 or more on Christmas would spend just that much where there’s a real need instead the results would be staggering. Mind blowing. I can weep just thinking about how ending world poverty is just within our grasp. It’s truly just that close.

Why should I think anyone cares? Oh, I know most people of my acquaintance cares and probably feels the same way I do. But then we see greedy, selfish, moronic idiots who stampede a Walmart on Black Friday, trampling and killing a clerk in the process, just so they can get the sweet deal. Really. What’s wrong with people? I know violence is wrong, but I’d love to just slap each and every person who didn’t give a care to that poor man they just ran over. I see something like that and I despair for the human race. Are we really that depraved?

I know most, if not all, of you are thinking to yourselves, “Can’t you just enjoy the season?” Yes, I can. And I do. As I said, I love the decorations. I love getting together with family. I love the carols and seeing how magical Santa and that whole angle seems to children. I love the look of tinsel and the big Christmas lights. I love the food! A little too much do I love the food. I love the goodness of the season. I don’t care that all the things I mentioned are grounded in pagan celebrations. They don’t symbolize that to me. I just wish less emphasis was put on things and more on the giving to those who truly need it.

Wow. I really didn’t mean to spew like this. I was just going to comment on how I still don’t have anything for the kids and how they don’t seem to care. They already know Christmas is going to be extremely slim and they’re okay with that. I’m grateful that no matter how spoiled with things they are, they still know what’s important and what’s not.

I know a lot of people deal with depression during the holidays. I don’t. I also know a lot of people get stressed out with the holidays. I don’t. And yet my heart is always so heavy this time of year because I feel like we’ve gotten it all wrong. But I’ll still celebrate it with my family like usual and see the beauty and the joy in it. And I’ll diligently try to focus on the greatest gift of all time, which is the subject of the holiday anyway. And maybe next year I’ll do it just a little bit better.


  1. Gretchen on December 13, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Yep…I think everyone needs to be slapped around by Linus’s blanket and staff at least a few more times until we get it right.Love you. For your transparency. For your righteous hurt and indignation. For you.Hero-girl. xxxooogjh

  2. Gretchen on December 13, 2008 at 4:18 pm

    Oh, and Lord, forgive me for my own Snoopy-ness this season. AMen.

  3. His Girl on December 13, 2008 at 5:26 pm

    I’m with gretchen.This year we are giving away more, and less to our friends and family than we’ve ever done before, and I have to say that I feel better (more relaxed, less stressed) than I ever have before. Maybe there’s something to this whole ‘take care of the poor and widows and orphans’ thing.also… YOU’RE GOING TO BE IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA?????????????*SQUEE!*

  4. Suzanne on December 13, 2008 at 7:02 pm

    Glad I’m not the only one who feels that way. Hopefully I’ll get my tree up today, but I don’t think I’m going to drag out nearly as much stuff this year (we haven’t even put up any lights outside yet either). Come to think of it, I didn’t drag much out last year either…lol.

  5. Tara Marie on December 15, 2008 at 6:55 am

    The tree is up, the house is decorated inside and out, the presents wrapped and it was all done by rote, after 25 years it’s simply expected by everyone in the family. AND, I completely agree with you.

  6. radioactive girl on December 15, 2008 at 12:35 pm

    I agree. I love my husband’s parents, but sometimes I think they go way too far overboard. My kids don’t “need” nearly as much as they receive. I am hoping that me teaching them to give to others will counterbalance all the excess that my husband’s family believes in because otherwise, we are all in trouble!My kids do help me make packages for soldiers, we do “adopt” a needy family for the holidays and buy gifts for them, but then they end up getting so very much from my inlaws that I stress out about where to put it all. That isn’t something I ever thought the holidays were supposed to be about. I agree, if only people could just help those who need help and not go so crazy and lose the meaning of the season.

  7. The Daily Bee on December 15, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    You’ve got me thinking…

  8. Anonymous on December 15, 2008 at 6:51 pm

    Ouch, get off my toes please

  9. susan on December 15, 2008 at 7:37 pm

    I couldn’t agree with you more. I think you’ve managed to put all my feelings of uneasyness about this time of year into words. Now, the question is, what am I going to do about it…

  10. Lynilu on December 16, 2008 at 12:54 am

    I agree about Thanksgiving. The gift of Thanksgiving is the people we are with and the food we share. That is so superior to the gifty-gifty of Christmas. The stress of gifting is sad.I hope you have a nice meaningful holiday. 🙂

  11. Swishy on December 16, 2008 at 1:18 pm

    I love Christmas … but I totally agree with you!

  12. Drewpy Drew on December 17, 2008 at 3:10 am

    Great thoughts. I love it when people think about things. I’ve had these thoughts myself over the years.In order to keep sane, I keep it simple.In our country, Christmas is a cultural and commercial holiday. It can bring out the best and worst in people.For those of us who know Jesus, it’s so much more. And we are called to be a light in the darkness. We need to show the world the love of God by example. The trick is in not coming across as ‘The world sucks and I’m better than every one else’. It’s hard for me and I often fail. I just do what I can and pray that He can use me.Peace out.

  13. Cheryl Wray on December 17, 2008 at 1:14 pm

    Personally, I LOVE Christmas but I try and do EVERYTHING in my power to make sure I–and my immediately family–are in it with the right spirit. That’s why this year I’ve really tried and focus on helping out other people. I’ve worked with reaching out to the underprivileged through some stuff at church and we’ve been blessed enough to help out a couple of families and friends who are having a hard time this season. Serving others is absolutely what Christ wants us to do during this time; I’m sure He sighs with disgust at how much we all spend on ourselves without focusing on other people.We also do a family Advent time each Sunday during the season and this helps us focus on what it’s really all about.Still…I do love to get gifts and I know we go overboard still with our girls. It’s definitely a challenge…and something we really need to work on as Christians.

  14. Victoria Bylin on December 17, 2008 at 3:37 pm

    We could be sisters when it comes to Christmas. Thanksgiving, too. Thanksgiving is by far my favorite holiday. Christmas gets overwhelming. I enjoy it–most of it, anyway–but it’s just “too.” Too busy. Too expensive. Too commercial. There’s good stuff, too. But it’s just so BIG. All that being said, I hope you have an amazing holiday with family and friends. That’s the best part. You can’t have “too” much love : )

  15. Monnik on December 18, 2008 at 11:16 am

    Oh my gosh. I thought I was the only person who’s favorite holiday was Thanksgiving!I could have written this post. Well, not as well as you wrote it, but what I mean to say is that I have the exact same sentiments about Christmas.

  16. Sing4joy on December 18, 2008 at 11:34 pm

    You have now ruined every moment of the rest of my ‘Happy Holidays’. I can’t possibly be happy about anything now that you have shown me how wrong it all is. Is your new job making you cranky?Okay Okay I’m just kidding *slinks away to take down strand of lights number 342,343,344 as they could be viewed as overdoing it*

  17. Tanya on December 28, 2008 at 1:48 pm

    This organization makes me happy.:)http://adventconspiracy.org/

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