[lit-ideas] Re: Fw: Re: practicalities, hoaxes and holidays

  • From: Eternitytime1@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Thu, 23 Dec 2004 02:23:43 EST

In a message dated 12/20/2004 10:24:40 AM Central Standard Time,  
aamago@xxxxxxxxxxxxx writes:
Religion  has little or nothing to do with Christmas.  It's much more a 
winter  solstice thing, and now it's become fundamental to the American 
Since American consumption drives the world economy, it's fundamental to the  
world.  Do Europeans do Christmas?  Is it as consumption driven as  American 

Sorry to have taken Time to think about how to answer this.  But, it  is 
intriguing as to how many different lists I am on also discuss this issue  
always during the Holiday Season.  The person who shared this piece  with me 
also wondered as to what makes the difference in people who are able to  
appreciate and enjoy the various holidays no matter if they are of that  
religion celebrating the particular holiday or not.  She  wondered if it had 
to do with having a secure sense of self or not.  I'm  not sure about that--I 
think it is more just learning to enjoy and appreciate  the wonder in each 
person. And I do think you can do that whether or not  you appreciate or know 
see the wonder in yourself...  (those who speak  the language of Words of 
Affirmation will be well aware that we need,  constantly, words of 
affirmation--each time we hear something good about  ourselves, it is like 
we've never heard 
such a thing in the past...)
In addition to what she sent, someone else wrote that their Unitarian  church 
had a children's nativity play and the message was that EACH of us is a  gift 
and is here to change the world....just like Jesus.  And, you  are.  I am.  
We are.
Here is what was sent to me:
Will Eisner, comic book author and businessman, who is credited  with
inventing the graphic novel, created a very popular comic book  called
Spirit.  Between 1940 and 1951, he created special Spirit stories  for the
Christmas holiday.  These have been collected into a single  volume 
The Christmas Spirit, and Eisner writes in the  introduction,

"It seemed to me that Christmas is a magical thing, a  holiday when the 
stops for a moment to perform small acts of  charity . . . These are 
for the season when for a fleeting moment  humankind unites in a 
mighty surge
of compassion and miracles can  occur."

It is worth noting that Eisner is Jewish.
Marlena again:
I also smile when I hear about the 'commercialism' of Christmas.   I think 
that argument has probably been going on for ages upon ages.  But,  perhaps 
those who do not speak the Language of Gifts.  Those of us who  DO speak that 
language adore times of Gift-Giving--and, indeed, do give gifts to  those we 
care about often for no reason (or we 'reward' but it is not really for  
'rewarding' as much as it is just because we care and we like to express our  
tangibly...close to the Acts of Service communication types, but more of a  
thing rather than a doing...)
We had a similar discussion on a different list where we do an "Ornament  
Exchange" with the others on the list who desire to participate.  There is  a 
general limit on what we are to spend--the only requirement is that it have  
something to do with The Books or a character/place within them and that the  
ornament has to come from a character in the book and the recipient has to post 
Thank-you on the List both for the Words of Affirmation types as well as to  
let the Head Elf and her assistants know that the ornament was, indeed, sent 
and  received. (those are all acts of service language speaking people, you  
know...<g>)   We had a little fuss this year as some of us  (mostly the 
Gift-giving types) tended to also add little pieces in with our  
little like cocoa or like what I received this year--I got  TWO ornaments 
along with jam and cute little brightly colored post-it  notes.  My sender 
the most creative cards from each of the  'characters' who sent the two 
ornaments--and oh!  So so precious and sweet  and dear.  My son and I enjoy 
ornament exchanges so much.  Some  of the others who don't understand the 
gift-giving language have had a hard time  'receiving' or knowing that it 
really IS 
the giving and the planning and the fun  of hearing of the surprise that the 
recipient felt that is what is enjoyed by  the Gift-Giving types.  It is NOT a 
matter of concern if you do not receive  the same 'in-kind' as what you send... 
 (and, btw, there are non-Christians  on that list--lots of them--and many of 
them participate in this exchange as  well.  
We do a Christmas Card exchange as well--so much fun to get cards and notes  
from people you have only met online (though some of us have met some of the  
rest of us).  Plus, the creativity and the thought in the different cards  
which were chosen and mailed are simply awesome!  It is simply sweet to go  to 
the mailbox and know you are going to be receiving some piece of mail that is  
Another sweet part of the commercialism of Christmas is one which I begin  
practically as soon as Christmas is over.  This one is really  fun.  I only 
I had the time and energy and all to do this for  more than just two people a 
year.  (I do different ones...)  I read  this idea in a magazine for families 
(and fun) a few years ago and have adapted  it somewhat for myself. It 
resonated with my Gift Giving speaking  internal communication language.  I 
almost the whole year working on  it. 
Think of the 12 Days of Christmas--I pack a box full of little items which  
either reflect the words of the song or the number of the song--or just  
something that I found which made me think of the person.  The article said  
family doing the giving chose someone they knew and they took something over  
each day -- and left it as a surprise.  It would be fun to give a turkey as  a 
partridge--but I settle for the three cans of chicken noodle soup for the  
French hens.  The two this year had very different boxes.  One  has two 
little girls and so they got mostly books--one, in particular, I was so  happy 
send.  My friend's husband is NOT the most multi-lingual when it  comes to 
communication languages--he is NOT an acts of service person nor is he  a 
gift-giving soul or even a words of affirmation language sort.  My friend  was 
disappointed last Mother's Day as he had not had the girls get her a gift  or 
her a card or give her breakfast in bed or anything.  They DID go  out to eat 
for a Mother's Day brunch (thank goodness they at least did  that)--but she 
was so so sad and wondered if she was loved by any of the three  of them at 
all.  (she is)  MY son, who is incredibly multi-lingual  when it comes to 
gift-giving, acts of service as well as words of  affirmation--and who also 
in celebrations of any sort--has made me  breakfast from practically the time 
he could walk.  (but, I also do the  same 'spoiling' to and for him and we 
talk about how it can make someone feel  special--and I have other friends 
who are teaching their kids the same  sorts of things and explaining the 
'why' as well...my friend who is far away  does not have that sort of support 
group around.  Yet. I  hope...)   The book did not mention Mother's Day--but it 
was all about  these little kids making breakfast for their mother.  My son 
wrote a little  note that we sent with the book and told about the first time 
made me  'breakfast' as it was about the age of one of the girls...and asked 
that they  tell him when they do it. [accountability?  Maybe--for they do like 
to look  up to the older kids...]   I included some sweet books that she had  
told me that she had not read to her kids--and added a couple of cutesy things  
for her and her husband.  
The other box was for my friend who has been working probably 80 hours a  
week, has had a son diagnosed with an incurable disease (though there is  
medication which helps) and who is, herself, battling some major health  
issues--along with a husband who has no idea how to cope with the son and who  
does not 
like his job so is [I think] mildly depressed.  SO much fun to  find little 
things all year for her!  Things as simple as a box of Stress  Mints that I 
while exploring a health food store.  A 'zen' sand  garden thing which has the 
person trace things in the sand when either in need  of creativity or in need 
of releasing stress.  (I had also gotten another  one for myself but ended up 
giving that one away, too <g>  Have not  seen them anywhere since then--were 
being sold in a 'going out of business' sale  and wish I had bought a whole 
slew of them for LOTS of people I know!   Gift-giving language, you know...)
But, I was taught by a grand Wise One.  My Uncle Rod was a  professional 
puppeteer in NYC and was simply the most 'congruent' soul that I  have met.  I 
that because there are those of us who have belief systems  which do not 
match up to our actions as much as we might wish for them to do  so.  But, his 
did. He valued people and things that they created so very  much.  I remember 
once when he had sworn my sister and I to secrecy over  his having picked up 
hitchhikers while driving to Missouri to visit the family  that he explained 
he would do something that he knew most people thought was  unsafe...He 
explained how precious people were and how each of us has a story to  tell--and 
I think, one of the first ones to talk about how we are all  connected to each 
other.  He also sent the most incredible gifts and during  that conversation 
explained why he sent what he did.   I do not think  that ANY of his siblings 
had ANY idea as to how precious those gifts were each  year to each of his 
nieces and nephews -- I missed the 'big' memorial service in  NYC, but there 
a smaller one in Michigan which I was able to attend--and one  of my cousins 
talked about the gifts their family would get each year and how  much they 
looked forward to seeing what he gave them.  He had the habit of  wandering 
through NYC and going through trash on the side of the road -- there  was such 
'good' stuff he would say in his notes!  In his conversation with  my sister 
myself, he talked about how people did not value each other or  even the 
creative thought that went into what was created by other people.   And, how we 
discard those people and things before they really are supposed to  be tossed 
away...and how he felt from when he was a boy that he was going to do  what he 
could to stop that.  
He also had a long-term rental agreement on some shop in NYC which had  
become a fairly fashionable area and the other shopkeepers were not pleased 
his airtight-legal-agreement.  He used to put his 'treasures' in that shop  
(which he only opened when he felt like it...) and pretty much used his 'shop'  
as a vehicle to be 'there' for people to come in and pour out their stories to  
So, I go shopping at garage sales in my area <g> and feel his  presence.  
Like him, I do like to explore neighborhoods (and it is  incredible the stories 
that one hears--so I let them share) and I often pile in  the neighborhood kids 
and we all go out for a day.  I also look for  unopened 'treasures' for my 12 
Days of Christmas boxes...(and have broken so so  many stereotypes that are 
inherent within people I know about shopping at  sales...when they see what I 
get...I have lists of things that they want me to  look for, too.  It's grand 
fun, also, to see the kids learn all sorts of  social and life skills.)
I love the 'commercialism' of Christmas--oh, of ALL the different holidays  
[let me tell you about the seven gifts I give to those I care about who have  
birthdays [if I have time/energy--mostly time]  I love to give seven  
gifts--one each for soul, mind, body, spirit, something fun, practical  and 
And, like others I know who have the language of  gift-giving, I totally 
understand those who celebrate month long birthdays for  members of their 
family...<g>  But, I believe bdays are days set  aside for the birthday person 
to say 
"Thanks for being in and touching my life"  to those he/she cares about -- and 
it is a day for that even if no one else  remembers it.  But, IF we know it is 
your bday--we who care for you ought  to say 'This is a day set aside for us 
to tell you we care for you and are so  glad you are in our lives"--words of 
affirmation in an act of service, I  suppose...and those who speak the language 
of Time ought to go hang out with you  and just 'be' ... and the ones who 
have Touch [not sexual, but physical...]  ought to be giving you a hug--even a 
cyber one!)  
So, if by 'commercialism' you mean those who have set the stage up for  those 
of us who simply love to give--well, I have to say that to me Christmas  
means 'religion' -- especially when I believe that 'religion' means love, and  
and peace and hope--and family and friends and all that is good and charming  
and full of laughter...  If I could, I would send each of you what you  most 
desire in life that would make your lives better, sweeter, dearer and more  of 
a delight to live.  I would gather up your sorrows and help you put them  in 
a sorrow box and explain that it is a part of life to have to have  
sorrows--but do not ever lose sight of the good.  Play the matching  game--what 
focus upon is what you will see more of (try it with types of  cars--even Saabs 
can be found!  Whenever I see one, I send thoughts out  West to the family of 
one of our listmates!)   
Hoping you can see the good in Christmas,
Marlena in Missouri

To change your Lit-Ideas settings (subscribe/unsub, vacation on/off,
digest on/off), visit www.andreas.com/faq-lit-ideas.html

Other related posts: