Being born Jewish I never really paid much attention to the Christmas Season or all of the traditions, trials and tribulations that go along with celebrating Christmas. While in College I met the girl that would become my wife and the Mother of my children (I have told that story in the past and will not subject you to it here). Man what a culture shock. I mean her family welcomed me with open arms which was very nice but suddenly I was thrust into a whole new world. First off, my wife comes from Italian stock and the first wake up call was that they really do have Sunday dinner at 1:30 pm and don’t leave the table until about 8:00 PM. My Father-in-law would hold ‘Court’ for hours on Sundays and my Mother-in-law somehow kept food coming and coming and also got to eat. But this is not what I wanted to go into today.
What I wanted to go into is kinda sorta related.
I was listening to the News and found out that yesterday, the Saturday before Christmas, is the busiest shopping day of the whole year. Now I was surprised to hear this as always thought that the busiest day of the year is the day after Thanksgiving, Black Friday. Apparently I was wrong.
When my wife and I met back in the late 1970’s and I now had to become part of the madness of Christmas shopping my head would ache by the end of just the first day of shopping. I couldn’t get it. To me, I thought that Christmas was celebrating the birth of Christ three month’s early, NOT about how much money was spent or how much stuff was under the tree. Boy was I wrong. I had a lot to learn about Democracy and Capitalism it appears. Oh and Christmas too. For now I was part of the shopping frenzy. Why I even saw two women fight over a sweater in Macy’s one year. I finally learned why the parking lot at the Mall is as big as it is even if it is empty most of the year. Silly me.
Now lets jump ahead some years. We are now married, have two children, two dogs, a nice little house, and eighty immediate relatives on my wife’s side. Only kidding about eighty relatives but at Christmas time it sure feels that way. So my boys are lucky. Not only did they get Christmas presents but they got to play with matches and light Hanukkah Menorahs and get a gifts for Hanukkah too. Hanukkah is not really a big holiday in Judaism but not wanting our little ones to feel left out of the Season of Joy we give presents to. Traditionally for all eight nights but being very Reformed, or really on the fringe, we just did it for the first two nights. But Christmas, well that’s another story. Now I found myself running from Kay Bee toys to Toys R Us like a madman searching for the latest Power Ranger or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle. As they got older I found myself standing on lines that reminded me of the food lines during the Great Depression (not this one but the one my parents grew up in) and not only in toy stores, now I am running from Circuit City and Best Buy to get the latest Nintendo 64 console. Then years later it was for a Nintendo WII, then the one and only Xbox. One year I fell for that old ploy and went to Walmart for their Black Friday special for an unbeatable priced laptop (that was for me because I never owned a laptop). After standing in the cold from 3:00 AM to 5:00 AM I ran into the store and found out that they only had two in stock, no rain checks and I should have been the first online Thanksgiving night instead of eating Turkey and sipping wine. What parent didn’t lose a nights sleep wrapping toys on Christmas Eve to keep the idea of Santa Claus alive? Boy those were the days my friends I thought that they would never end but they did. And thank you Al Gore for inventing the Internet. I know he didn’t really invent the internet but that last line wouldn’t be funny now would it?
Let’s come to the present. My wife and I went to the Mall once, Friday, we were there for a couple of hours and then back to the ranch. Does that mean that we didn’t do any Holiday Shopping this year? Au Cont-rare my friend. We shopped like fiends. Oh today the gifts were less but the cost is much more. Not from inflation but from the age of our offspring. But yet, here it is, five days till Christmas and everything is bought, wrapped and we are still sane, we still love each other, and all thanks to……….AMAZON!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes we did it all on the internet and were done about a week ago. So there, no more cold nights standing on line, no more fighting over the last sweater, no more swearing because the only spot left in the parking lot is the Handicapped spot. For we are blessed by the internet.
So, never mind Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or Festivus. I say let’s Celebrate the Internet. Yes my friends the Internet, without which I might be divorced, or suffering from alcoholism, or even yet in jail because in my heart of hearts I know that I saw that sweater first.