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.