It has been brought to my attention that perhaps I might want to consider not taking on so many "causes" and trying to be one woman changing the world with her "bare hands". Although it gives me a sense of "control" to feel as though I'm making a "difference" with my "alternative opinions" and "non-mainstream perspectives", it's possible that I might want to let some of that shit go in order to "not lose my mind" and "ruin everyone else's good time".
This all started with Santa Claus. My parents were over on Saturday. Lily was drawing in her new fairy coloring book with her princess crayons and my mom started to jump around, excited, asking Lily what she'd asked Santa for (Lily and I had made a list, and she wrote, simply, "Sippy Cup" and "Princess Watch". I was so brimming with pride at my little nonconformist's lack of interest in Christmas chattle that I did a whoop-whoop all around the kitchen). Dad, the equally-excited grandfater, said something like of course Santa will bring Lily everything she wants because she's been so good. Then I kind of brought that train to a halt with my (probably misplaced) idealism: "Um, no..." I said under my breath, looking right at Dad. "No?" Dad said, confused. "um... mmm mmmm" I shook my head. Dad: "I don't get it." Me: "I just... Ok, I don't want to give Lily the idea that if she's a good girl, she'll be rewarded with lots of presents from some strange fat guy."
I said this half-kidding, but there was definitely an element of seriousness to it. I am on the fence about the whole idea of Santa; I like the idea of St. Nicholas, a real guy who brought gifts to needy children and their families once upon a fifth century, but I'm not sure how St. Nick morphed into this mythos of an obese old fucker in a red suit sneaking in the open window of my fire escape on Christmas Eve to eat my cookies and leave Lily lots of plastic things made in China.
This pissed my father off. Taking Santa away from Poppy on Christmas is just plain mean. He turned red. "Oh, for Christ Sake!!"
"Well...you know, I just don't think it's a great thing to teach..."
"It's Christmas, Kristin! It's Santa Claus! Come on!"
I immediately regretted saying anything, and I realized that, as usual, I'd gone a little too far, offended my dad, ruined Christmas for everyone (well, not really). Mom and Dad aren't guilty of anything except wanting to be good grandparents and getting excited about sharing our family Christmas traditions with little people again. Why do I have to take that away from them???? What is wrong with me???
So, I tried to smooth things over: "It's not that I dislike Santa per se, it's just that I want Lily to know that she's always a good kid, and that Santa will bring her presents no matter what, ok?"
But the damage had been done. I might as well have poured rum all over my father's Christmas tree and lit it on fire. "Yeah. Fine. OK. Whatever".
I'm no scrooge. I do love the holidays--I do. I love the lights and the music and the silver bells and everyone being a little sweeter to each other and the family time and all of that. I just hate the commercialism of Christmas; I hate how the holiday season makes the poor (me) feel crappy for the better part of a whole month just because all the "normal" people are whoopin it up blowing their dough on excessive material goods. I think what bothers me most is how few people really stop to think about why they are spending spending spending. Sure, I want Lily to have wonderful Christmases, filled with happy family memories and tradition. But there must be a way to teach her that it's about more than the STUFF. That's all. I just want to do it without offending everyone.