Friday, October 30, 2009

If you've read my blog a few years you've probably noticed I'm not a huge fan of Christmas. At least, not the way it's celebrated in the U.S., especially.

But I do still enjoy Christmas movies and so yesterday Tom and I visited our tiny town library and came away with Christmas With the Cranks. We'd seen it a couple times, but it had been a few years.

It's a fun movie, I do enjoy it overall, but always--always--there's something in it which bothers the heck out of me. 

Which part is that? It's where the Cranks are viewed by their neighbors as totally selfish, thoughtless, uncompassionate people just because they're not decorating as usual, not spending their yearly $6,000 on Christmas and its trappings, er, trimmings--but instead--are choosing to skip Christmas for one year and go on a Caribbean cruise, instead. 

Yet after the Cranks cave in change their minds and "do Christmas" after all, there's a speech given and it's stated that the Cranks should be forgiven for having the selfish, thoughtless, uncompassionate idea of ever taking a cruise as a couple at Christmastime.

At no time did the movie even hint that the Cranks should be allowed freedom to make different choices than those of their neighbors, not as long as they weren't Jewish or weren't going to visit relatives out of town (as some of the other neighbors were and did).

Come on. Give me (and the Cranks) a break! 

Their daughter wasn't coming home that year, they had no other children, they still chose to give their annual gift to a favorite charity and their church, they'd only be spending $3,000, not $6,000 and they were looking forward to getting away as a married couple after having raised a lovely daughter.

My take on this? It was the whole neighborhood who was being selfish.

Good grief, the enormous pressure they put on the Cranks! Pressure to lug out the huge, heavy Frosty the Snowman up on their roof like everyone else and to decorate the outside of their house with lights and the inside with all things Christmas. Pressure to buy a tree from the Scouts and calendars from the police and pressure to hold their annual (huge) Christmas party for all the neighbors at their own house. 

And when the Cranks wouldn't comply, oh my. The gossip amongst the neighbors was ghastly.

Well, I'll tell ya. Every single year for the past ten (or so) I've dreamed about skipping Christmas. At least, skipping the trappings which have become such a part of the whole month of December. Sometimes I sit upon the couch and just imagine what a Christmas-less December would be like and I let myself feel warm all over from the sense of relaxation.

But what I usually end up doing is toning down Christmas more and more each year. I buy less, cook less and attend fewer parties (last year we attended none). And I think, in my heart, I'm hoping to arrive at that One Great December where I'll have spread the real spirit of Christmas all around through the previous 11 months, so much so, that I'll have earned a month off, a December off. One where I just sit and relax in Peace on Earth and wish good will toward all men and meditate upon the One for whom Christmas is all about.

And in that someday December if my neighbors see me as the Cranks' neighbors viewed them, well, so be it. I'll just remind myself that God knows what's truly inside my heart, He gives me my free will, He'll never force me to do anything and that's always what will matter most.

A Caribbean cruise in December, though, wouldn't be too shabby, either.  シ



Anonymous said...

i agree! i've not seen the movie, but it doesn't seem like the couple is trying to stop other people from celebrating--they just want to celebrate differently for once.

not a big christmas person either, but I do like a couple of carols and pfefferneuse. oh, and a mug of eggnog. and done! :)


Jan said...

Since when should neighbors have a say and you life?

Louise said...

I haven't seen this movie, but I totally understand your stand on Christmas. I too have downsized Christmas ... decorations, cards, gifts, etc. I actually get rather depressed during that time of year. The one thing I really enjoy is spending time at my Mom's apartment with whatever siblings care to join us. We have dinner, then talk and talk some more.

I see my grandchildren getting so many things ... and I refuse to get caught up in it any longer.

A young deacon at our church said last Christmas that his neighbors didn't understand why he, the 'Christian' on the block, wasn't putting up outside lights to celebrate Christmas. His response was "they have no meaning whatsoever on the birth of Christ, so we choose not to do that". He also said the same went for trees, ornaments and gifts, and then said that the way we choose to celebrate or NOT celebrate is an individual matter and does not reflect on one's Christianity.


Jammie J. said...

I think anyone should be able to celebrate the holidays in whatever manner suits their taste.

I agree with you regarding Christmas with the Cranks. I loved that movie... except that I got irritated with the neighbors and their peer pressure. I dunno, I think they should have just taken their daughter on the cruise with them.

I love decorating for Christmas, I really, really do. But it's a lot of work and it's a commitment. But for now, it gives me joy. When the joy of decorating leaves, well, then I might give myself a break. :)