Narrow escape from Grinchiness

family fun away from the shopping malls.

fun on the ice

I think I’m becoming a Grinch, the Doctor Seuss furry recluse character, who scorns the Christmas season in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.”

What has caused my grumpiness towards a holiday beloved by nearly all children and many adults? I guess it’s the ubiquitous push to buy more and more stuff. This comes as heaps of separate ads tucked in the daily newspaper, the catalogs that clog my snail mailbox, and the dozens of unwanted junk emails that arrive in my inbox every few minutes.

Yesterday, to try to get into the spirit of the season, I read through the “Shop NW” section of “The Seattle Times.” This issue featured suggestions for the late shopper: a set of four bottle stoppers in different geometric shapes for $49, an agate cheese board for $78, a $395 customizable pet blanket, and a custom pair of baggage tags for $81.

The “Shop NW’ gifts are not for the very wealthy. Shoppers in that class are probably considering one of the Neiman Marcus fantasy gifts, which include a walk-on role in a Broadway hit ($30,000), a week of luxury living at three English estates ($700,000), a one-day private quarterback camp with Joe Montana ($65,000), or an exclusive Grammy Awards appearance ($500,000).

But wait. There is more to Christmas than gifts.* Is there nothing that can stop me from sliding into total Grinchhood?  Hmm. Last night, we did enjoy watching kids and adults trying not to fall as they skated around a holiday ice rink.  A few days ago, I had lunch and exchanged gifts with longtime friends.  This week, I’m having lunch with another group of friends. We go to the same lovely hotel every year.  It’s a real tradition. Then there’s the annual gag gift party coming up; oh, and breakfast in a bookstore with fellow writers. Lots of affirmations of long-time friendships I hadn’t thought about as I thumbed through advertisements.

The other day, I saw some wonderful lighted decorations I’m taking my husband to photograph. We’re going skiing later this month. He even brought home eggnog, a treat we only allow ourselves once a year. And it’s not as if we’re spending much time searching for the perfect gift. We already have it: a cozy house complete with fireplaces and plenty of supplies for making hot chocolate, close friends, a large orange cat, and each other. Maybe I’m not becoming a Grinch after all. It all depends on how you look at the situation.

*Of course, it’s a religious holiday, but commerce has pushed that into the background.

About stillalife

I retired June 30, 2010 after working for 40 years in the field of education and most recently doing school public relations/community outreach in a mid-size urban school district. I wrote for superintendents and school board members. Now I'm writing for me and I hope for you. In this blog, I offer my own views coupled with the latest research on how to preserve our physical and mental health as we age, delve into issues most of us over 50 can relate to like noticing wrinkles and forgetting where we left our keys, discuss the pros and cons of different ways to engage our minds and bodies after we leave the workplace, and throw in an occasional book review, all peppered with a touch of humor, irony, and just plain silliness. Also, I'm on the third draft of my second novel since retirement.
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4 Responses to Narrow escape from Grinchiness

  1. Kathy Gleich says:

    Well, said, and the Harry & David scrolling ad on the post just affirms your comments. Have a wonderful holiday filled with friends and joyful experiences!

  2. Barbara de Michele says:

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. The commercialization of Christmas, with some really questionable advertising among other atrocities, has tarnished the entire month of December! I also miss the quiet serenity of Christmas Eve church services I used to attend years ago.

  3. I’m a confirmed “Grinch”—always have been. I can’t stand the commercialism of it all. So I get cranky and complain, and resolve not to get sucked into it again this year. But I always relent, and do end up buying some gifts and sending away some Christmas cards. The most happiness I feel is in connecting with family and friends over the season. Gift-giving is something I have to come to terms with, and I think I am on my way to deciding not to participate. Thanks for providing this chance to “grump” about it!

  4. Janet Orr says:

    Like you, Ann…I’ve enjoyed several gatherings with longtime/newer friends in the past days…listening to carols/enjoying decorations/toasting our gratitude for so many things. My extended family decided many years ago to reduce the amounts spent on & number of gifts. Rather, we share the ‘Reason for the Season,’ even though the many past years of us ALL gathering together on Christmas Day came to a close awhile ago as relocations made it impossible.

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