We are entering the season of tinsel, ad nauseum canned carols and maxed out credit cards.
I’m not a Christmas lover. From the tacky red-and-green motifs, the bags and bags of paper purchased only to be torn up and wasted, the packed shopping centers and ugly sweaters it is not my favorite holiday for many reasons. Years of playing angels in my old church pageants didn’t help either. Angel I am not.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the spirit of warmth and light, peace on earth and family love. I love the spirit of generosity and hope. I love the cookies my mom sends every year. I love candy canes.
I hate the mall mobs, the stress, the pressure to spend spend spend and the measurement of love by the cost of a gift. And seriously can someone please write some new songs?
I challenge everyone out there, Occupiers and Occupy haters alike to rethink Christmas this year. I challenge you to make it about helping others; giving of yourself, not your wallet.
If you must spend money on gifts, go to locally owned small businesses. Support the people in your community, not the big box stores. Teach the kids that Christmas is about love, not video games. Go caroling door to door. Meet your neighbors or get to know them better. Leave your credit cards at home.
I have always been inspired by Dolly Parton’s stories of growing up in the back woods with 11 brothers and sisters. The family only ever had money for one gift. They hid it somewhere in the house and on Christmas morning all the kids searched for it. The one who found it, kept it. She spoke of those days with warmth and joy. No one ever demanded the latest trendy item, they had what they had.
I’m not suggesting we make everyone compete for one present. I AM suggesting that we reconsider the values that send us all into debt over the holidays. In whatever way we can, let’s stand up for peace, joy, good will towards ALL.
We of Occupy have joined together with people who once called us squatters, people who understand that whatever our methods we are doing this to make a better world. You can be part of it. Join us at Common Ground Calgary.
This isn’t just about Christmas, Yule, Hannuka or Kwanza. It is a fire we hope to light in the hearts of everyone and keep it glowing throughout the year. Together we can change the world. With kindness, courage and love we will succeed.