Wednesday, December 17, 2014

In Defense of All Things Christmas Kitsch

Nativities made of fresh meat or Batman and T-Rex . . . blow-up snow globes adorning front yards . . Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer blaring from every loudspeaker . . . every Lifetime and Hallmark schmaltzy Christmas movie ever made (who knew It’s a Wonderful Life would spawn its own cottage industry?) . . . A Christmas Story being about a boy’s yearning for a BB gun rather than the birth of our Savior . . .

Yes, I confess, I love it all.

Every bit of it – all of it, the ridiculous extremity of it makes me positively giddy.  It’s like – well, it’s like the best birthday party – ever.

Of course, I’m the one who picked the picture of the Easter Bunny posing like a Playboy centerfold atop our church sign (What will you do with the risen one?) for the church’s FB banner.

My Christmas childhood memories are all good ones.  Maybe that’s part of it.  My dad, no Christian, nevertheless rejoiced in all the celebration.  We made candy together.  We strung tinsel icicles one by one (the only proper way) on the tree.  We made our way to Grandma’s house.

And there were always presents.  Mom says there weren’t many, but in my memories, presents flowed like a river towards me – maybe it’s the love I’m remembering – the best present of all.

I love that certain men and boys in my life ask for underwear for Christmas and are delighted when they get them.  I love sending and receiving cards of sentimentality in the mail.  I love all the decorations of yards and homes, even when a North American Santa is at the manger (and maybe especially then).  I love the contrast of the busy craziness with the quiet spaces of wonder.  I love the sentimentality.

When I think on my own son’s birthday, I get all teary and sentimental.  Why not when thinking on the birth of Jesus the Christ?

Most of all, I love that it is not possible for there to even be a hint of policing about this celebration – you cannot mandate joy or laughter.  They either happen or they don’t.

So to all my friends with shorts in the proverbial twist over Merry Christmas versus Happy Holidays, etc., etc., etc., can’t we lighten up just a little, just this once?

After all, it is a party.

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