There is a special place in my heart for the literature, music, and food of Christmastime. Every year I look forward to driving through streets lighted with festive designs and making laps around the Indiana Soldiers and Sailors Monument to view the Circle of Lights. The Muppet Christmas Carol, Little Women, whiskey-spiked eggnog and Vince Guaraldi’s music for A Charlie Brown Christmas are just some of my favorites.
But for a few years I have been struggling with something known to some as quarter-life crisis. Everything I do, no matter how simple, quickly finds itself doused with doubt and existential pondering: buying clothes,eating and watching television are all moral quandaries.
Christmas is particularly difficult with its patchwork of tradition stitched with religious beliefs, consumerism and sentimentality. And so it was no surprise to me when I read that many millennials see Christmas as more a cultural event than a religious holiday .
To many of us, the holiday season is spent partaking in rituals we don’t fully understand as customs handed down to us by our parents. Among them are: going to church, buying gifts, elves watching children from shelves, nutcrackers, trees inside the house, songs about mothers kissing Santa Claus and grandmothers being run over by reindeers. I was so confused by all of it as a child I used to ask for pictures of elves and reindeers from Santa instead of toys, so that I could better understand to whom I was sending those special letters.
The truth of the matter is that 90 percent of Americans celebrate the holiday, but only half do so for religious reasons. More than a sign of the fading of religion, it seems more of a testament to the beauty in the aesthetics built around Christmas and its diverse appeal.
It isn’t difficult for a person of any background to join in the reindeer games, and it could even be said that the aesthetics are the reason for the season with their way of uniting people across creeds -- even Neil Diamond and Barbra Streisand feel inclined to sing about it.
Taking note from Charles Dickens and his concerns with social justice and poverty, I now find myself searching for ways of celebrating, ways that honor my upbringing and those I love, but without turning a blind eye to the less glamorous reality of how the sausage is made.
Holiday cards, sentimental movies and jazz are what pull my strings now. Allowing my ghosts of Christmas past to visit me once in a while works too -- we all have our Scrooge moments.
Regardless of the origins of the most magical time of the year and the nausea-inducing materialism of the season, I am not immune to Yuletide. And while I figure the rest of it out, I can find peace knowing that there’s at least one thing I feel strongly about and can truly believe in this time of the year: showing love to the special people in my life via the United States Postal Service. It is the closest thing to Santa Claus there will ever be. Think about it, they visit all homes and carry a sack!
My beliefs are as they should be –- my own. But on behalf of all of us here at Sky Blue Window, I wish you and yours the most joyous holidays, for whatever reasons you celebrate this season. May they be beautiful and memorable.