I interrupt this Sunday morning for a soapbox sermon

The house isn’t really decorated. The tree is up but there are no ornaments. The skirt is on and a few packages have made their way to the bottom. I think I’m going to put the star on top and call it a season.

I’m having a bit of a temper tantrum, you see.

Perhaps it’s true I don’t do enough for Christmas as measured by society’s current traditions, but that’s ok by me. Over the years I’ve watched this odd phenomenon of people doing a whole lot when actually they don’t keep Christmas at all. One family I know speaks plainly that God is a bunch of hooey and the other won’t go quite that far but has never once in their history gone to church on Christmas Day. Their houses bulge with all the trappings.

Forget it. What we’ve come up with isn’t working for me. I’ve argued before the best way to cheapen and degrade the Islamic religion is to commercialize Ramadan or the Haj the way we’ve messed with Christmas. I also argue this commercialization of Christmas is one of the reasons Islam continues with such a vigorous expansion while Christianity is shrinking.

Now, to be honest, I’m not one to even believe Christ was born on December 25th. I’ve decided to adopt 6 B.C. on April 17th as that special day. I keep a “Happy Birthday Jesus” notice on my computer’s calendar that comes up every year. It’s my way of celebrating the birth of a man who changed the world.

This December 25th I’ll work to have some family time. We’ll eat some meals together. We’ll talk about hopes and dreams. You won’t find any angst over purchasing the perfect present in this group, though. There will be small efforts to please each other but virtually no expectations.

It’s probably just one girl spitting into the wind, but that’s the way I feel.

You may now return to your artificially created hubbub.


  1. Cindy, I think we have to just let people do Christmas the way they want to – just the way each individual lives life.
    Christmas is based on traditions that go way back and can be a very wonderful memory for the most part but I do believe that as generations have gone on the memories are more stressful. Too much hub-bub.
    I think you just have to make your own tradition-good day with the family and friends and decorate as you like. I know my decorations are less and less each year. As far as presents – I believe in giving all year long.

    Christmas changed so much because of the retail world and the fact that some shop keepers make their year’s income at Christmas. We can’t change that – we don’t have to except that – we can just celebrate the way we want.

    BTW I will miss your blog. It’s one way of keeping up with you.

  2. Agreed. I didn’t say they couldn’t do it. I do wish they’d leave me alone about my decision to do less, though.

    PS – I’m keeping cindykilkenny.com up. Just walking away from politics, that’s all.

  3. Randy in Richmond says:

    I had this argument with myself years ago. Then I pretty much took the same route that Jvee describes. Much of Christmas is a state of mind that is based on the things Jvee mentions. About 15 years ago our church went from a Christmas day service to Christmas Eve Night. Immediately a second service was needed as attendance sky-rocketed. I feel we can observe Jesus’s birthday and also be good capitalists. Do some abuse the season–absolutely. I spend zero time contemplating them or their doings. And I always say Merry Christmas, not some generic babble.

    I also had the same issue with Halloween. For all of my youth and well into adulthood it was a holiday for fun, costumes, and candy. Only when some brought up the tie-in to satanism and witches did I make the connection. Again, my state of mind was in a different place than those dark connotations and I decided my family would continue to celebrate our historical view of Oct. 31st. Caught a little flak from some but I suspect they got over it. If we wanted to we could assign some negative aspect to pretty much any occasion-I choose not to.

  4. I think it interesting we’ve gone more overboard with the Halloween stuff than Easter. If I had to pick a religious holiday favorite, Easter would be it. My favorite time-off day is Thanksgiving, sans the Black Friday hoopla.

  5. Funny, I woke up this morning feeling somewhat the same way. I go through this every year, really. But it’s getting worse as time goes on. I just want to be around family and nothing else…and move slowly, and enjoy. And I have a picture in my mind of a couple years after I was married on Christmas Eve, when I was pregnant with my first child, standing out in a snowfall with huge snowflakes and it was such a wonderful night. That was when I felt “hope.” I know that’s sharing too much, but that’s what Christmas is to me.

  6. I think you’d be surprised at how many of us agree with you on this one. The crass commercialization of Christmas makes me sick.

  7. On the bright side, I am grateful to Roundy’s (and others) for allowing the Salvation Army to solicit donations at the entry, and I am grateful to all those folks who ring the bells and say “hello” and “God bless you.” It is a sign of something right in the world.

  8. Oh please don’t get me started on bell ringers! Instant guilt for me every time I walk by – even after a yearly donation.

  9. Perhaps it’s not guilt, but a desire to participate. Go ahead and put in a nickel. It all adds up.

  10. Hmmm. I guess I never thought of it that way. I do keep a lot of change around. Maybe I’ll move it to the car.

  11. DICK STEINBERG says:

    Kate. You always had a way with words. It’s tough to get volunteers so let’s cheer them on.