Here I sit taking a little time to write here, the day after Christmas day 2013.
In some places in the world following English cultural traditions, this is Boxing Day, of course, with its own character and practices. I’ve always thought that was a nice little tradition, which I find has some variations to it, looking up a bit about it. It’s a good plan, to have a little day after plan, to continue enjoying the Christmas holiday. Here in the United States, for a great many people, the day after Christmas is just another day back into the routine, and, of course, among other things that means that for everyone whose normal day begins very early, they end up having to wind things up and call it a day, or head for the door, depending on where they are, pretty early on Christmas day, when they should be able to just really relax and unwind and enjoy the time with the family and company at hand.
I do like to remind people now and then that Christmas is not just a one day event (or even two, counting Christmas Eve), contrary to what seems to be common in the modern American Christmas holiday, which is that it’s essentially over around 6PM Christmas day and the gift packages are open, except in circumstances where people are bouncing around in different settings because of family and travel, and the “Christmas day” shifts around for those festivities.
It’s sad that I can’t really avoid looking at and acknowledging the ways that people manage to warp, pervert, and just ruin the time. Many many people have the unfortunate experience of some kind of dysfunctional family ugliness ruining things. Even if it manages to skirt open stupid vile squabbling, it can make things a bad time, if only because false pretense happy-face acting makes it apparent to any fully conscious soul that it’s an empty pantomime. I hope that this doesn’t happen to you, and you have had (and are having) a nice Christmas, as it’s supposed to be.
Another unfortunate phenomenon, of course, is the whole sweeping away of virtually everything else about Christmas in America by the crazed corporate retail commerce ritual. Even now, on the day after Christmas, even glancing at news will turn up, in no time, some story about “post-Christmas sales” commerce, as the talking heads yammer about notions that Americans heading out and stampeding and assaulting each other again in the post-Christmas wave of buying more stuff they don’t need and can’t afford is the process of “economy recovering”.
Actually, checking the news today, right after Christmas, I find that the CNBC chattering is all about another “stock market rally” with what looks like another record number of the Dow Jones Industrial Average, along with the stuff about “retail numbers” following Christmas, which cracks open a whole subject of its own. Leaving that aside, to address later, the fact is that this frenzy kicks right back in, immediately after Christmas day, showing the priorities in life of some people.
Don’t have that be you.
A sideshow freakshow to everything is the unfortunate ugly distraction among some Americans, mainly those falling victim to the mind warping effects of particular media entertainments presented as “news” about this supposed “War on Christmas”, which is a whole weird episode of some sort of paranoid delusion all its own. It’s worth taking a moment to ponder the behavior you find among people in this mindset in the course of what they presumably think is defending Christmas against this supposed war. It’s telling, to notice that the same people are very likely to take notice of things being said recently by the new Pope of the Catholic church and condemn him as a “radical Pope”, for, basically, saying the same things Jesus said.
One of the most bizarre things imaginable was a story this December about a Salvation Army bell-ringer out gathering donations in the Christmas season being attacked by some shithead, for saying “happy holidays”, presumably thinking themselves as performing some noble deed fighting against that evil “War on Christmas”. Ponder that. Try, for just a moment, to imagine the mental process of this goon. “I’ll show you what Christmas is really about, you commie liberal secular heathen Christmas-hater!“. (It might not be mere random coincidence that this occurred outside a Wal-Mart store, in Arizona. I’ll leave you to your own thoughts about that.)
These are things to ponder in what should be a time of reflection and goodwill.
Don’t ponder the ugly too much, though.
Have a nice Christmas holiday.