Thursday, 19 December 2013

HOW TO RUIN A PERFECTLY GOOD CHRISTMAS

Having survived some ghastly experiences, I feel I have a grasp on what went wrong during Christmas. It's perfectionism that ruins this once-holy day.

The makers of commercials have been successful at raising our expectations on what they call "the perfect Christmas." The toys must be manufactured by Mattel or Fisher-Price. The cell phone has got to be an iPod 5. Nobody, if you read between the lines, gives something cheesy like clothing except if it's in the latest style.

Adults are likewise effected by the holiday hype. Every commercial promotes the idea of family and friends getting together around the dinner table. The turkey absolutely must be a Butterball. And of course the holiday pastry must be from Pillsbury.

Everybody has to be insanely happy too. No arguments or violence should ever happen during the holidays, according to the unstated rule.

Stores hype the holidays by putting up decorations early, sometimes before Halloween. Tacky Christmas carols Blair from the public address systems in a constant attempt to give shoppers that "Christmas feeling." After all, the holiday season is the biggest sales event of the year so they want to milk it for all it's worth.

Santa Clause is everywhere during November and especially December. Stores use him to coax children to beg for lots of toys which they just happen to have in stock.

Worse yet, parents use the threat of no presents to keep their children in line. The lie about Santa eventually unravels , starting the process of cynicism in their minds.

For me, the worst Christmas was 1963. When I cried because I only got a mouth organ while I received plenty of toys the year before, Mom admitted that she and Dad were really the ones who gave me the gifts. The thought of my parents lying to me wounded my soul deeply. The "magic" of the holiday died for me that Christmas Eve.

I mentioned that incident in my Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School memoir. I also wrote about the side-splitting mischief I got into at that institution.  Looking back on those days, it's no wonder that I'm single. :-)

I recently published a new memoir called How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity. Please check it out at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Virtual Bookworm.