Dear Dr. Brilliant Cliché;
‘Tis the season… and I am SO not into it. I see this tremendous push from the media to get us to BUY, BUY, BUY.
I see commercials on TV showing family and friends gathering together surrounded by an overabundance of food and drink, everyone well dressed and happy.
Tonight I drove past Burnside Park in Providence and saw the protesters freezing in their tents; I drove past the YMCA and saw the line of downtrodden people surrounding it, their breath smoking in the air.
It gave me a sense of how forced the gaiety really is, how many ulterior motives there are behind the cheer and goodwill.
I was bummed… then I come home and I realized how lucky I am to have my house, my partner, my little pets, food in my fridge…
Even if I can’t afford to buy gifts this year, my home is a gift. It’s the best gift there is.
There is advertising and big business and media… then there are people in their real lives.
From the other side of the screen, we watch these images shopped to us and are dissatisfied with what we have.
Why can’t we all just take a good look at what we have and think about what it would be like to be out in the cold wondering where we would sleep that night? Why do we get so caught up in the bullshit hype that is shoved down our throats?
Christmas as it is celebrated in America is unique to our culture. It is a celebration of capitalism and the ideology behind it. Stuff makes you feel good and stuff says I love you and that I am loved. Stuff is how you reward goodness and stuff is how we judge and are judged by others. This, of course, is silly.
But there is a lot more to this primeval holiday, Christmas.
Christmas also is a light in the darkness as old as the awareness of mankind. If one can ignore the media, avoid the malls, and just look at the pretty lights, there is a feeling of wonder and joy, hope and security.
This ancient pagan part of Christmas is now celebrated with LED’s, being as they are safer bonfires. Christmas trees and presents are the modern alters and sacrifices we make to the gods to protect us. This primeval lighting of fire to conquer darkness and nature exists in every tradition underneath the many layers of story that tag on over the eons and make this Holiday unique to each and every culture.
So let those lawn elves chase your demons away and sacrifice an art project to a dying evergreen.
And MERRY CHRISTMAS………..
Dr. Brilliant Cliché
Granny says- realizing the value of life while it is being lived is a rare thing. That’s one of the reasons that despite the tawdry commercial bleat of Christmas there is a value here. People wake up at Christmas. There is a belief that depression and suicide increase over the holidays, but that’s just not true. In fact, psychiatric visits to the ER reach their lowest point of the year one to two weeks before Christmas. I think that the comfort of a returning yearly ritual and the colored lights create a glow in all of us, as cynical as we pretend to be.
Love it or hate it, Christmas changes the world for a little while.
My neighbor has pink fairy reindeer grazing on his on his lawn amid twinkling stars. I know it’s silly, but I still love it.