Friday, December 18, 2009

I got the bobo, neo-hippie, anti-consumer atheist-at-Christmastime blues.

Sometimes I feel a certain melancholy about the atheism of our family. Once you get the rationalism disease, you can't go back. But there's a certain spiritual poverty that comes with giving up religion. And it's hard to fight the siren-call of consumption at this time of year. The world is whispering from every direction: 'Buy things. If you love them, buy them things...' We're lonely salmon swimming against the tide in a sea of tinsel. No Santa, and no baby Jesus - what's left for the kids of cheerless bobo, neo-hippie bastards?

Somehow, at our place, the hole left by Santa (I just don't dig on his 'make a list, order your presents' shtick) and little baby Jesus (him, no problem, some very good ideas, I think the problem lies with his biographers) has been filled by...

... the Cat in The Hat. I found this fellow waiting for me at the bottom of a garage sale crap-basket. I didn't hide him too well in my slovenly Christmas pile in the corner, and the beady eyes of Ivy found him a week or two ago. I had to admit he was visiting us, but we couldn't play with him yet, and he might appear at Christmas.

He might. He's tricky, that Cat in the Hat.

He's been turning up, mornings, in funny places around the house. Swinging from the blinds. Hiding in pot plants. Sailing through the air on the back of an Indonesian goddess.

We know he's going to appear for real at Christmas and every day, when driving in the car, Ivy says 'Now let's have a conversation about Christmas,' he features.

Creating rituals is an interesting thing. Thoughts, desires, and held ideas on what 'should' happen within the family are processed, discussed, and filtered through the circumstances of your lives, and the personalities of your children, until you end up with your own unique traditions. We've been talking about love, and sharing, and making things for people we care about. I've fought hard against myself to limit the children to a few presents. We've waved at Santa, but not sat on his lap. We've given a gift to the Giving Tree. We've been constructing wonky gingerbread men.

And with mounting excitement, we've been preparing for the Cat In The Hat to arrive.


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  3. ^^ Spam is so well directed, don't you think? Rolls eyes.

    I am loving your take on Christmas. You'd definitely know your were loved if you were given a wonky ginger bread man... and that is what it really is all about. Feeling the love.

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  5. This is a genuine commnet from a genuine reader:
    i am in complete agreeance with you and just wrote a rwp aprt series entitled bah humbug on my blog. I cannot stand the spend spend spend attitude at present with people just buying crap for others etc. It is so hard to ignore it with little one- everyone askng her about santa etc

  6. Hi! You've de-lurked me now ;) (how funny is that term, de-lurking?!)
    I am in exactly the same boat re; beliefs/lack of them around Xmas. And still struggling with it... I went down the Santa track with eldest child (now 13) - and I don't want to buy into it again with the 2 new littlies.
    How to set up meaningful traditions while the world around you is crazed with consumer hype? That is my big challenge right now too. I like your cat in hat plan - it's as believable as santa and the birth story of little J- maybe even more so.

  7. I adore the cat in the hat. David is now 15 and I can still recite my favourite passages from the fox in socks. lol

    It is about this time, a few days before Xmas that I get "pressie angst" and worry that I don't have enough for the children. Luckily, like all my other angsts I just ignore it and it goes away.

    I love this post. You have made me smile and I will be thinking about you and the cat and the hat intermittently for the rest of the day.

    I agree with "two tuesdays" wonky gingerbread men say it all.

  8. Yup - I agree with your take on Christmas, I love giving, and it's kind of neccessary to have an end to the year, but the commercial crap drives me nuts!!


Thanks for talking to me. I don't got cooties. Oh, except for when I got cooties.