I love Christmas. It is by far my favorite holiday. I love the whole month of anticipation and activities leading up to it; I love the Christmas carols and songs; I love the transformation of the dark and dismal streets into elegant splendor. And I love focusing on the incomprehensible love and sacrifice of the Savior.
But I don't love everything about the Season. At the risk of offending the majority of my readers, here are five things I fervently wish would go (and stay) away:
1. Elf on the Shelf. I know this is supposedly a revived tradition from the 1950's, but it seems more like a commercialized scheme to me. Honestly, I think if this was someone's personal family tradition, I might think it was kind of cute and creative, but where everyone has their own little elf to keep an eye on them during the day and then wreak havoc at night, it's just so ridiculous for so many reasons: 1) I know the elf doesn't have to do naughty things, but many of them do (that seems to kind of be the point), and that just seems like a horrible message for my kids (you better watch out, you better not cry, but let's all laugh about Bobby the Elf spilling soda pop all over the floor and making snow angels in rice). 2) It feels so fake to me. Even if I was a fan, I don't think I could pull off the nightly deceptions. (What about Santa, you ask? That's a whole other discussion, but even though Santa comes to our house, I try to focus more on other things. Still, I know I'm a bit of a hypocrite on this point.) 3) It's one more daily thing to clutter my life. We do have lots of holiday traditions (some of them daily), but I try to only hang onto ones that I feel strongly about and enjoy doing every year. So if you do Elf on the Shelf, I hope it's filling your life with joy and happiness. (I found this article on the Nauvoo Times to be very validating.) I had a feeling Aaron would probably be hearing about elves on shelves from kids at school, and so before he even asked about it, I flat out told him there was no way we'd ever get one. Just call me Scrooge.
2. Inflatable decorations. You know what I'm talking about, right? Giant Santa Clauses and Grinches and Snoopys that blow up like balloons and fill up your entire front yard. They look so tacky and cheap to me, and it seems like the lazy man's way of decorating: instead of stringing lights around your trees, why not stick a giant purple hippo wearing a Santa Claus hat on your front porch (you think I'm kidding . . . I drove past this very thing today) and call it good?
3. Jingle Bell Rock, etc. I'm as much a fan of fun Christmas songs as the next person. I like Jingle Bells and Frosty and Have a Holly Jolly Christmas. But I am not a fan of poorly composed Christmas songs with stupid lyrics performed by some obnoxious singer on a synthesizer. I'd rather drink a gallon of eggnog (see #5).
4. Santa Claus' new persona. Instead of being a figure of generosity, kindness, and goodwill, there are so many movies, books, songs, decorations, and commercials that paint Santa as a big, fat, bumbling idiot. Santa Claus with sunglasses and polka-dotted shorts playing a saxophone? Why would I want to believe in someone like that? That is not the Santa I grew up believing in, and if that's the image my boys are creating from the superficial commercialization they see everywhere, then I guess we won't be believing in Santa Claus for much longer.
5. Eggnog. I used to drink it because my family had special Christmas mugs to sip it from, but it's foul stuff, and I'm done with it.
Whew, that felt good, but do I have any friends left? Does anyone else agree with me? What are the things that make you say "Bah humbug"?