Tuesday, December 12, 2006

A Tree in the House

Christmas, to me was always a phony event in line with saying “CHEESE” before having a photograph taken. Though the holiday is deeply engrained into the American psyche, I never fell for it. One of the early photos my parents have of me is of my crying on Santa’s lap. Even at the age of two he was as creepy as any clown. I was even creeped out at a young age by seeing Mr. Peanut walking the streets of New York City.

My parents kept Christmas going until I was about 12 years old. One year I realized that we didn’t have a tree. I asked my mother why, and she said it was too much trouble. I agreed so I never had one since, with an exception I’ll mention in a moment.

I was just saying how engrained this holiday is in our psyche. When I moved out here, the first time I walked into the house that I purchased and still live in, I looked at the knotty tongue and groove wood, sixteen-foot high cathedral ceiling, and the flagstone fireplace and the floor to ceiling window and thought to my self, “This would be a wonderful room for a Christmas tree.” I couldn’t believe that thought even came into my mind.

I never had a tree until my wife moved in with her children. Rather than inflict them, the children, with life altering scars, we decided to go with the flow. Christmas is a competition for children. No matter what sort of religious crap you feed them about Christmas they know the true meaning is about what they get. Don't be fooled. I didn’t want to have them become social out casts, and I didn’t want to be thrown out of my own house for a month every year.

We did stop it all when the youngest was around 15 and we’ve never looked back. I find it odd how I’ve bent to whims of society, but without children it is so easy to take on the hard line. Now I just need to find a way to get out of going to stupid pot-luck holiday parties. It’s hard to fain illness for three weeks straight. It’s hard to come up with believable alibis.


Blogger Boo7 said...

Hi Guy..........

LOVE that picture **snicker**....

When my baby bro (he is 29 now lol) was younger he was literally terrified of Santa Clause....we were living in New York City at the time and the only thing we could figure is that there was a great deal of TV coverage of the Ayatollah Khomeini....ironic isn't it???

I guess to a 3 year old the resemblance must have been striking!!! poor lil guy!

6:36 AM  
Blogger Robert said...

The joy and myth of Christmas is everywhere. As my normal outgoing personality, I repeatedly say hi to everyone on the street. Normally throughout the year all I get is a blank stare (like are you talking to me) but instead around the Christmas I get told Happy Holidays countless times. It's like a zombie brigade programmed with holiday cheer. Meanwhile, there are more causes of suicide, medication usage for depression increase, more alcohol and illegal drugs are consumed while the stores are mobbed with people purchasing useless stuff for Aunt Betty. I agree with the Christians return Christmas to the religious folks.

6:56 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Boo and I think alike. She sent me this photo this morning, and I had this photo for weeks ready for use with this article. Maybe it was all my time in Canada that something rubbed off on me.

Robert, agreed. I wish they'd keep it to themselves, but since they won't I'll be here to throw out the counter opinion.

7:53 AM  
Anonymous pril said...

well, you could take the opportunity to sit around and moan about Christmas or you could take some time out of the moaning and do something for someone. You could do it all year long, but some people do it at Christmas. People kill themselves and overdrink and overdose around Christmas because they think no one cares. Go care. Help someone. That $50 to $60 you don't spend on a Christmas tree anymore can feed quite a few people at a shelter or crisis center. It's a few pairs of pants for a lonely senior. How many books can you get a kid for $60? It's a cheap guitar! But it's easier to complain than to get up and do, so i don't blame you for complaining. I'm not even Christian. You don't have to be Christian to give a piece of yourself.

(i don't know why i can't log in here with my google OR blogger account, so http://4count.blogspot.com is my blog and i am pril)

11:37 AM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

I'm not sure this was what this article was about, but hey...it seems like the readers here give abundantly most of the year. Dried Salmon County is a generous community.

12:26 PM  
Anonymous Wende said...

Ok, so... You know I'm going to have TONS to say about this... but, in the spirit of Christmas, I'm going to refrain and give you a gift instead. :) Because, unlike you: I DO BELIEVE IN FAIRIES,er, SANTA. heh

Go here for your potluck situation: http://holiday.enlighten.com/

1:05 PM  
Blogger Amaya said...

First of all, I'm guessing Pril isn't from the NW because a Christmas tree costs around $12 in Oregon if I remember correctly. But that's neither here nor there.
What I'm curious about is your Canada theory. I just assumed that since we influence them so much socially that they'd be as holiday-obsessed as we are. I'd love to hear more about that.
In my case I don't celebrate Christmas with a tree because of kids - but rather my parents. They'll be coming next week and I want them to feel comfortable. As much as I'd like to nix the ritual, they are religious folk and I want them to feel like I made an effort for them.

1:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

He doesn't need defending, however, I will comment that just because someone doesn't blog about it doesn't mean they aren't doing something for someone else, maybe even everyday.

I, too, am not "Christian" in that I don't look on Christ as the only path to the Divine, but I do like the fact of the unity of this time of year. I like the story of "Silent Night Holy Night Christmas Truce" and the fact that they had to bring in new troops the next day in order for the battle to continue because the men who had sang together refused to fight one another.

Ah, this is turning into a blog post, haha! CB

2:14 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Actually the intent of the story was more about how this stuff is so engrained in the American psychy that no matter how much disbelief I can muster it will still be with me like a deamon on my shoulder. Thanks for that excuse link, I have plans for that puppy. Thanks Wende, and I have a gift for you as well that when the bloggers get together.

Amaya, we have to do what we have to do. I did it when we had kids living with us. If we have to compromise to make people happy, well at least some people leave happy. I've heard reports that trees at a nursery are going for $80 this year. Yes, I support Oregon tree growers in spirit, but now with anything out of my pocket.

As it all comes down, I hope that everyone ends up happy this year. I will be happy being left alone and blogging. I wish everyone a good care-free night sleep and a good meal. I wish peace.

2:17 PM  
Anonymous Wende said...

Ok, so now, I'm just afraid. :D

Does this mean you want to be "out" and publicize this shindig? I say, we pick a day next week... Thursday. At 3 pm. Astoria Coffee House on 11th. :D I'll be the one with crazy eyes. heh.

3:01 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Wende, check your email. Let me know if you didn't get a message from me, my email had a hiccup.

Crazy eyes, now I'm frightened ; )

3:39 PM  
Anonymous gearhead said...

The issue of Christmas comes down to this for us:
Ask yourself this: Why do I celebrate Christmas?
Am I celebrating Christmas because I decided to? Am I "celebrating" (paying your way through) Christmas because everybody else does? Because "normal" people do?
When our kids were at home we made a big deal of the season and had a lot of fun in the process.
Nowdays, Mr. & Ms. Gearheads set down around Thanksgiving (I love Thanksgiving!) and we DECIDE our plans for Christmas.
Here is this years' decision:
Not one penny will be spent, not 5 minutes involved with ANYTHING to do with Christmas.
No cards, no gifts, no phoney activities, NOTHING!
AHHHHH! It feels so good to stand on ones own two feet!
I know what you're thinking. :-0
"But what will every one think?"

6:18 PM  
Blogger Mom of Three said...

I loved Christmas as a kid, but as a young adult, I learned to hate it because, after I got married, the mothers behaved like total buttholes. They won't be in the same room, so we were running around from place to place like Poor Spineless Mr. Lupner. What tore it for me was the year I was so ill that, on the 27th, I was hospitalized for a week with double pneumonia and put into a coma so my lungs could be sucked out. But on the 25th? My MIL whined and wanked until we came, and I sat there, shivered, threw up, then had Slave Hubby take me home (he was Slave Fiance at that time). I have to say that I love my older, more assertive self again.

Another thing that I didn't like about Christmas was that we were pressured to buy all this crap so we could exchange it for crap we didn't need.

Now, I love Christmas again. Partially because I have kids (and I agree, it's about the stuff they get, it was when I was young, so why not them?). Years back, we made a decision: No more adults buying for adults. Period. You break that rule and you had better be doing it out of the joy of the season, because you are not getting anything back. My sister was relieved. My parents were relieved. We all feel so much better! So, I give to my kids and my sister's kids and that's it. I can't tell you how much more I enjoy the season now, and how much less expensive it is on our single income. I love having the tree (ours is great this year), I love my ornament collection. It's all good. Now, potlucks. You have inspired me to make my own entry on that one. I have definite feelings on potlucks...

12:07 AM  
Anonymous Barb L. said...

Regarding 12/12 post,
"It’s hard to fain illness for three weeks straight."

I don't mean to be critical, but I think you mean "feign"...

I live in Seattle, and I really enjoy reading your blog -- I am a "cat sitter" in Seattle and fantasize of one day moving to Astoria and starting my cat sitting business down there.

I enjoy your blog because I feel the same way as you do about so many things/issues -- I'm a bit of a misanthrope -- probably why I love what I do: visiting kitties!

Keep up the writing!

Thanks for providing a great way to learn about life in Astoria...

Barb L.

2:56 PM  
Blogger The Guy Who Writes This said...

Barb, welcome to Astoria (virtually that is)
Ahh, yet another word for a contrition of my ers. I'm surprised my Canadian friend Moosehead didn't find it and rub it in my face.

There may be some work here for you but you may need to branch out to dogs and horses...maybe children to make a living.

I do plan to keep writing unless things go very badly at the local blog meeting next week.

Thanks for commenting, and I hope to hear from you again

3:10 PM  
Anonymous Moosehead said...

Actually, I did spot the "typo" but, in the Christmas spirit, and attempting to control my neurotic and obsessive/compulsive impulses, I opted for attempting to pass up the occasion. I must admit though that I did peruse the Urban Dick and found that the word fain did exist but in the context of Fenner Fains - marijuana or to smoke marijuana- which, if applied, still worked (I'm staying home to smoke pot for three weeks so I won't be able to make it to the pot luck party) and thus relieved me of the burden of responsibility to correct the spelling...and then,barb i came along.

5:03 AM  

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