A Christmas PostDec 22, 2001 Write an essay on this topic.
The Bottom Line There really is no bottom line on Christmas, no matter what the masses say...
Iíll eventually get back to reviewing products, I promise. I have another Stephen King audio book that I have been meaning to write about for a while now, and Iím due for a (yet another) Walt Disney World review, too. But for now I figured, since we donít get paid like we used to (yes, that was paid, with a ďpĒ), I might as well speak my two cents on Christmas.
Usually, I would load something like this up with bad puns and cheap sexual innuendoes (like mistletoe belt buckle gift ideas and such), but this year I think I will play it straight. Because this year, for the first time in my life, I am searching for some meaning in the holiday that makes or breaks small and large businesses alike. This year, as I wrap the remaining gifts that I bought on eBay and send out my cyber-cards, I find myself thankful for all of the inconveniences; for the crowds at the mall, for the ridiculous credit card bills that will certainly arrive next month, for the friends and family that will drive me nuts because I didnít get the right size, for the constant and relentless commercialization of Christianityís most holy day.
The reason for this new (and likely unimproved) me is attributed to the events that most of you are trying to forget. Yep, that nightmarish September 11th day that seems like a foggy nightmare to most of us, and an all too real hole in the lives of many others. More people died on US soil on 9-11-01 than on any other date in history. More families will grieve this holiday season than my tiny mind can grasp.
I didnít write this to bring anyone down. I love Christmas, I admit it. I am not ashamed at all that Iíve seen 'Itís a Wonderful Life' thirty times, give or take. I like Christmas lights and carols, and pudding, and getting drunk at my Aunt Minnieís house, and getting ugly sweaters. I love all of these things. But I canít get past the thoughts that many families will be missing a brother, a sister, a mom. At Christmas, when Daddy should be carving the goose or reading Tíwas the Night Before Christmas, heís not there, gone with countless others for nothing. No great point was made, no colossal changes occurred in the way the powerful USA conducts its superior business. If anything, this nation is stronger and more cautious than it ever would have been had that horrible day in September not happened. But it did. People died while traveling west, for business or pleasure. People died while working, people died while visiting. And, though any senseless death is tragic, perhaps the worst part came for those who were safely watching TV in the firehouses in NY City. Those most valiant men and women who went willingly to do everything they could to help other people, people they didnít know, at the greatest risk to themselves. Those people who gave up the freedoms that you and I know and put the welfare of strangers ahead of safety. I am not a religious man, but God bless every one of those amazing professionals.
So, I assume this review is a downer. I donít mean it to be. Those people who died gave their lives to strengthen an entire nation, and more so, the free world. I propose that instead of feeling weepy and full of dread, we respectfully embrace the wonders of this world. Look and those whom you love, your family, your friends, and see them for all that they are. Cast your eyes inward and be thankful for the many positives that fill your own life. Put aside old rivalries and live with a renewed sense of life. There is not enough time to carry hateful baggage. Let it go and move forward with a lightened load, a better view of the place in which you stand. Give yourself, if only for one day during this holiday season, the gift of appreciation. Take that gift and apply it to everything. See the world in all its splendor, even if itís only for one day. Youíll be glad you did.
Iím not really a warm, fuzzy guy. I know, I wrote a couple love-fest quality reviews and all of a sudden I am Johnny Sensitive. Well, thatís not really me. I like sarcasm (and would whole-heartedly mock my own reviews if it wasnít in bad taste). I enjoy the harsh, black and white, surreal visions of the world that people like Tom Waits and Henry Miller have shown me. But I am also honest, and this is likely my most honest review.
Itís Christmas time. For me, that means I will listen to radio hoping to hear that awful Waitressesí tune Christmas Wrapping and the wonderful Fairytale of New York by the Pogues, and Iíll spend money I donít have, and Iíll see some people whom I love and havenít seen since last Christmas. And I will do all of those things for the first time in many ways. This is the first Christmas I will spend since I lost my innocence. And I will consider just what that means. I hope you do as well. I will remember those people who didnít get to open their presents or see their kids come down the steps on Christmas morning. And instead of crying, I will smile. I will be grateful that they didnít die in vain. Their sacrifice will serve as a reminder for me that life is precious. That is the most amazing gift anyone has ever given, and I will appreciate it. Maybe that is the meaning of Christmas.
I sincerely wish each of you a very warm and wonderful holidayÖ
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