This Christmas Story needs a re-write. The ending was too sad for me this year, and not because my young son did not get his Red Ryder BB Gun. It was because my older son did not get enough shirts, ties, and jogger pants to make his day merry and bright. Material, literally, was more important than the cliché reason for the season. Even an Uber gift card was unacceptable! He handed it back to me with the snippy comment, “What am I going to do with this?!” I then proceeded to ask him which flavor of soap he would prefer, Lifebuoy, Lux, or Palmolive. I figured that since we are family we can both have a bad taste in our mouths. And now, of course, I have already misplaced the card!
My 21-year-old gave me an unwelcome, un-returnable gift this past holiday—a meltdown that was as greasy and messy as butter. I was shocked to feel the spirit of the Grinch alive in my own home. After 25 years of pretending to be Santa I thought the role of simply being Kris Kringle would be easier. Wrong! Now I am expected to get everything on the list with no surprises or deviations allowed. While shopping itself is overwhelming being shot down by an invisible Red Ryder BB Gun is pretty official. Now Christmas has a whole different meaning for me. It is called the New Year.
Turn the 8 around and all eyes are on the New Year. I plan to follow the recipe on the Rice Krispie cereal box, and heat up marshmallow feelings to treat myself to a healthy, crunchy bite out of 2018. What does packing away the last of the Christmas decorations and tossing the tree out on the curb on December 31st symbolize? It means get ready for a blizzard of whiteout conditions. While others are making a flurry of resolutions I simply want to fill in the pages of this blank journal with a different ending.
I want to take aim at the nonreturnable behavior of my son and target a New Year of caring and sharing. This selfless giving would make for Christmas every day of the year. Gone would be the selfish attitude of the self-appointed home Recycling Monitor and Environmental Studies Major, who decided to pollute our holiday air with a green that is not Sustainable Energy, but rather simple greed. It was shocking for me to witness the one whose goal to encourage renewable energy and energy efficiency utilize his own widely available energy to complain about material gifts. He got himself all wound up like a wind turbine and demanded over and over again, using a personal force of nature without causing any harm to the environment. He was as relentless as the painfully cold wind, and it numbed my mind with a biting pain.
My adult son was as persistent in his quest for gifts as nine-year-old Ralphie was on his mission to get parents, teacher, and Santa all on the sleigh to make his Christmas wish come true. In true movie making fashion Ralphie behaved better after all the presents had been opened, while my son was freeze-framed in a reality check. What a waste of power from the one who wants to use cost free energy. So, what did I do after three months of shopping?
As in any mother/son relationship we exchanged unpleasantries and niceties. Then, I went back to the mall and returned the tangible items that were found to be offensive, even though they were thoughtfully purchased. I bought a couple of the requisite items and called it a year. We skated on through to make the Figure 8 complete. As I focus on the future my kids are simply going to be taught to sustain the world by giving love.