These days, there are those who say "Commercialism has wiped out all the tradition from Christmas," and there are those who say "You don't even know where half the 'traditions' of Christmas come from, so stop complaining."
I'm going to avoid that whole argument for now, and I'll leave it at this: this year, I want to make Boxing Day the day for presents under the tree, and I want to do something quiet and contemplative for Christmas.
That said, I'm still a kid at heart. There are still things I want to get this holiday season and for the year to come.
I want to get out of my chair. I spend my workdays in a seat. I spend a lot of my spare time writing, or editing, or mucking about on Facebook. Dang it, I want to get outside, spend some time with the dog throwing snowballs or hitching her up to a sled and pretending Mont Royal is the new Iditarod.
I want to get better at writing. I want to be more entertaining, to be more thought-provoking, and to be faster - not in the sense of typing speed, but in the sense of efficiency: more time spent thinking through the plot and characters, and less time behind the keyboard.
I want to get off my butt and get things accomplished. Two months have gone by, and I still haven't set up the spare desk in the bedroom. It's languishing unassembled on the bedroom floor. I want to stop saying "I'm too tired" and start recognizing when I really mean "I don't want to", then doing it anyhow.
I want to get along better with my coworkers, to leave behind that gut-reaction that prevents me from listening to what they have to say. I may have made a mistake, and it may take a lot of work to repair it, but isn't it better to be humble and right, than wrong and arrogant about it?
I want to get over myself and out of my own head. I want to stop taking my goals and my problems so seriously, and not to take my talents for granted either. I want to look outside the dusty confines of my own brain pan and see what - and who - is out there, what they're up to, what they need and what they see.
I'd like to get more out of my time. I'd like to practice diligently, but not desperately - writing, singing, drumming - but to practice in moderation, instead of in breathless bouts of zeal. I want to learn patiently and to apply what I've learned. They say practice makes perfect; I'd like to practice what's right, slowly and regularly, rather than madly practice the same mistakes over and over again. I think that applies to life in general, too.
I want to get back in the gym.
I want to get rid of clutter - the material clutter in my apartment, the mental clutter in my head. I'm not a hoarder, but I'm not actively clearing out the useless junk, either.
I want to get involved in the community. I want to be engaged in
making life a little better for someone else - not just during the holidays, but year round. I may not have a lot of time -
no one does - but to spend a couple of hours every month, it can only do
I want to get that sense of pride back, the one I used to get when I collected food for drives, or collected spare coins for food banks, or dropped four or five bag loads of food in the drop boxes. I want to reclaim my sense of charity.
I want to get more involved in the lives of friends
and family. And that one's going to be tough for me - not because I
don't care, but because I tend creep into hiding for weeks and months on
end. That's just my nature. But it'll be worth it in the end - not
only for myself, but maybe...just maybe...I can help someone else crawl
out of their shell too.
And most of all, I want to get back to feeling worthwhile: in the morning, having something to look forward to, no matter how small, something that will get me out of bed at a decent hour; and in the evening, going to sleep with a clear conscience and the sense that I've accomplished something. I want to say "I did this for somebody today."
And of course, I'd like to get published, but that's another story.
This year, I really don't want anything for Christmas, no presents, no rushing around, no deep theological debates about the meaning of Christmas. I'd like maybe a turkey dinner with my mother, a dog at my feet, a mug of hot chocolate in my hands and a movie on TV, but nothing more than that.
For now, you can keep your arguments about commercialism and big box stores undercutting the little guy during the holiday blitz. You can keep your trees and your glittery lights, your hand-to-hand combat that is Christmas shopping, the stress and drama that is the modern family dinner, and you can keep your purchase-inducing Christmas music, those cheap and old-familiar tunes you blare over loud speakers at strip malls.
All I really want for Christmas is a New Year.