Dear Santa Blogs,
I’ve been checking all over these sno-=covered Interwebs, and I am still confused about the True Meaning of Christmas. I figured you had nothing better to do, so can you explain, please?
On the whole, I would rather deal with a battalion of kids asking for working submarines and ponies and hula hoops, but I’ll give it a try.
Santa Blogs got into trouble with his study of Christmas specials which discovered a certain lack of unanimity on the theme. A goodly number of versions of A Christmas Carol insist that the True Meaning involves generosity not only of spirit but of deed, that seeing to the emotional and physical needs of those who are unfortunate is the point. But an equally large number of moving pictures cry out that the True Meaning of Christmas is having strong family ties (see roughly sixty percent of Lifetime, Hallmark, and BET Christmas movies.)
How the Grinch Stole Christmas reaches a bit wider, reminding us that the True Meaning does not deal with packages, boxes, or bags, but in togetherness with friends and community. Some specials point out that much of this is meaningless, in a True Meaning sort of way, if it does not involve sacrifice to make Christmas things happen. And we have A Charlie Brown Christmas, which historically went out on a limb and suggested that the nativity of Christ was the meaning of Christmas. (Network executives warned that would never sell.)
What are we to make of this cacophonous jingling of bells at different tunes, keeping in mind that many of these movies are themselves inseparable from Christmas for people who love a good Christmas movie at the right time of year? Well, Egg Nog Muffin, Santa Blogs long ago came to a shocking conclusion which has neither pleased nor convinced anybody.
There ain’t no one single True Meaning of Christmas. Christmas means a lot of things, and they all get mixed together, the way Silent Night and Grandma Got Run Over By a Reindeer alike mean Christmas to a listener. None of those Christmas specials and movies mentioned above are WRONG: it’s just that Christmas, as practiced in modern times, mixes all of that and more. It’s about peace and love and family and generosity just the way it’s about running around like a mad soul trying to buy, bake, sing, wrap, and even watch everything that needs to be blended into a Christmas.
What Santa Blogs is telling you, Cranberry Souffle, is that the True Meaning of Christmas, as the Grinch and Garfield and Charlie Brown and Scrooge discovered, has to come from inside you, not from any electronic helper. You have to decide for yourself how much of each True Meaning you want in your personal mix. To you, that will be the True Meaning of Christmas, and it will be that for you and nobody else because it’s your holiday mix.
If you can, keep this mixture on hand and spread it where you feel it is needed, you will be doing what is required during the holiday season. And don’t be discouraged by the Interwebs, which is where everyone practices the One True Tradition of Christmas, which is the right to tell everyone else they’re doing it wrong. That’s part of the mix, too, and you are as entitled as anybody else to it. If you can laugh while you do it, and shake like a bowlful of jelly, Phil, it’ll blend perfectly well with the rest.
Be true to your own Christmas, Phil. Even if it involves playing that stupid song I wish had never been written and could be lost forever in….
Wait. Right. Gotta shove my nose against the wreath and inhale quietly for a while.