By: Cody J. Elms
Your Christmas is too perfect, and you know it, but you can’t help yourself.
I get it. You see, back in the day when social media consisted of angry teens on MySpace and while Facebook was still in its infancy, no one knew what your home looked like for the holidays unless they came over to visit. Back then we didn’t have the glimpse into everyone’s home that we have now. You just did what you do with what you had, and everything went well. And if you want to go way-way-way back when phones still hung on walls and computers were things of NASA and Star Trek…well we won’t discuss those dark times.
But we will discuss the current times. Somewhere between dial up and 5G, Christmas became less about the commercialization of the holiday and more about the presentation of the holiday home and family.
Now you might be asking yourself, “Well isn’t it good to get away from all of that commercialization?”
NO! It’s not. Because it didn’t go away. It didn’t die. It simply was overshadowed by an even greater monster. Plus, let’s be honest with ourselves, we no longer wait for holiday deals to buy something special. Many of us now more than ever impulse buy the latest and greatest just because. I’m not sure it even takes commercials anymore. I mean really, when was the last time a commercial affected your spending? But for some reason you keep buying shit don’t you? Yup! You do. We all do.
What has been created by Facebook (all grown up now), Instagram, Snapchat, and everything else is a virtual phoniness of the holidays.
That being said, I can confidently say this, I miss the tackiness of Christmas.
Yes, I miss the days of off-pattern blinking multi-colored Christmas lights half-assed hung on the front of the house. You know, the Christmas days where the artificial tree has a nice lean to it and you’re not to sure why, but dammit it’s still not as big of a pain in the ass as one of those real ones. The Christmas times when you just plastered the inside of your home with the same faded, oddly designed, and sometimes outright creepy decorations that you have used for a decade or more. The only new decoration was either the ornament one of the kids bought you last year with your own money or something you saw on sale on Dec. 26th while you were out looking to rent a movie for the new VHS player. I miss people arguing over the true meaning of Christmas, Jesus vs Toys“R”Us. I miss A Charlie Brown Christmas being ON TELEVISION!
Oh yeah, you just time traveled, didn’t you?
For me however, it isn’t everything I mentioned as much as it is the time. I’m not one of those throw backs that thinks everything was better then than it is now. If I were, I would be a hypocrite. The very act of me being able to sit down with an adult beverage, type out my thoughts, and throw it all over the internet is something that was not possible in the good old days. I'm just saying, why did Buffalo Plaid take over our decor? It. Is. Everywhere! But long before we all gave a damn what anyone thought of our "Christmas Theme" there was oddly enough more focus on togetherness. Sure it was cheesy and corny and the pictures had to be developed even though they all had red-eye, but it still felt genuine. It felt real. It was commercialized but it wasn't materialistic. If that makes sense.
Everything now is filtered, edited, and perfected, but if 2020 has taught us anything it is that perfection is a pipe dream. It is the flaws in the design, the wrinkles in the plan, and the piecing together of individual chaos, personalities, mishaps, and outright restrictions that help to create memories. This year perfection is not possible. So why pretend anymore? We've learned from January 1st until December 25th that banking on things to run perfectly or even smoothly is not a realistic approach.
Celebrate your holidays how you choose, share what you desire, decorate as you please, but remember none of it matters if your heart isn't in it. You're not on display. You don't have to impress. Make memories you can look back on and wonder what the hell you were thinking. None of us will forget Christmas of 2020, but it doesn't need to be because it was a flop. It's okay to go off script. It's okay to be different. Think less canvas and more caring. Less about "likes" and more about laughs. Less about the scene you set and more about who is sitting in the scene.
You don't have to go back in time, but next year don't be so quick to dispose of that ornament that's cracked, or the tree that leans, or the weathered Santa hat. Look at what's around you when your memories are made, and embrace that scene. If you can bring back even a glimpse of that on Christmas days in years to come, you, your family, and your friends will be better off for it. Sure Christmas is based upon religion and somewhere along the line Santa Clause came about, but now it seems to be neither of those more often than not. At the end of the day, what it needs to be about more than anything else, regardless of religion, race, nationality, location, or fiscal stature, is being together in person and spirit. Creating memories that will make you laugh, cry, and laugh again.
Happy New Year.