We were driving through natick, ma listening to the radio. Frankie and I decided to hit up the various strip malls in the area to look for inexpensive higher end fashion. I just visited the Doctor in Waltham about my knee. Another MRI and Arthroscopic injection. The confusion over my knee pain continues. So we were driving, preparing to buy stuff we may want over need, and stuff to give as xmas gifts. The usual story. And then we stopped talking because NPR, specifically "On Point" with Tom Ashbrook had a story about kids that send Santa letters to USPS. These kids are from poor areas and the stories moved us both to that point where anger and tears meet. I can pretty much, with confidence say that I dislike Christmas. What its become and what it stands for are on either end of what I like about the holiday.
For me, Christmas is about family, friends and coming together. Its a reason for me to jump on the christian holiday to be with my Mam and Dad, my brother, nephew and my mates. Everyone comes together to celebrate the holidays. However I am not oblivious to its shortcomings or the result of the fairytale that create its very existence. The stories on Tom's show made me so angry. I am powerless to do anything about how I feel. Children, here in the USA that ask for so little. Things like, "I want for Christmas just the opportunity to see my Mom smile, she has been so sad", or " My sister and I just want some new shoes so we can fit in when we go back to school". One kid in his letter asked, " I want my mom to be happy because she has been so sad all year, and if you have room I would love a doll for my sister and a transformer toy for myself". How pathetic is this holiday when "Santa" brings some kids so much and yet other kids who believe in the same dream get so little? Its a another holiday of the haves and have nots and for that reason I move further to the dislike side of the holiday.
My Mam and Dad always provided for my brother and I. We got cool toys and gadgets. Only years after did I realize that my parents had to work hard and save for my toys, they had to bust their asses so I could feel like "Santa" brought me something that was as good as my friends. I have great parents but not everyone is that fortunate. These letters hit me so hard that forever my value of this holiday has diminished. I can't imagine what it must be like to be a child asking 'Santa' for a pair of shoes or for happiness. In a society where we spend Billions on war and on the engine of capitalism no child should be left begging for a $15 dollar toy from 'Santa', because he is not going to bring that toy even though every kid in a wealthy neighborhood gets everything they want. It makes me so sad. On a purely secular level, just to be nice I wanted to answer some of these letters and yet I didn't. It is difficult to build programs to meet the requests. But it shouldn't be. I should be able to call up NPR and ask for a few letters. I saw a transformer toy in Nordstrom Rack that day, it was a large yellow car that turned into a bumblebee. It cost $15 bucks. Less than the round of Belgian beer and French wine I bought for Frankie and I a couple of hours later. Our drinks satisfied us. That toy would make some less fortunate kid who believes in 'santa' so happy. It would make their dreams come true and all I would miss is the taste of the first of many IPA's. Christmas, its hard to agree with what its become. And I make it my mission to look out for the less fortunate who believe in the reason for this holiday. Giving and helping does more for me than the personal celebration of the holiday. Kids don't know, they are indoctrinated to the reason for the season but they expect something from it none the less. And the fact that less fortunate kids ask for so little and yet receive even less is sad. I want for Christmas to see the needy have some happiness. To see poor children receive a gift from 'Santa'. And if he throws in a new knee or 2 for yours truly I won't complain.
I miss being at home this time of year. My friends Christy and Lynn are getting married in 2 days and I won't be there because of visa issues. Its not all bad though. I have Skype to talk with my family and friends. Frankie came down for a few great days. I went to a new pub tonight. I rode my bike for a few hours today. And I am still motivated to fix my knees. Its all good. And whatever my gripe about this holiday, I still like it. I was raised loving Chrimbo and I'm far from scrooge when it comes to the week. In fact I embrace it, only now I am going to give the gift to the less fortunate. I want to answer one of those letters. I want to know that I made a difference because someone likes this holiday more than I do.
My favorite christmas tune. Maybe the best christmas tune there is. Check it.
Peace and Love,