Black Friday

Black Friday means its a month to Christmas. Typically, this is the time of year where I get crankier. Before my parents died, it was a bit of a joke. Every family needs a grump, and I did so without being a total jackass. When my dad died, my mom, Tony and I put up a brave front. When my mom died, Tony and I tried a variety of ways to keep our spirits up, but for the past two years, I didn’t bother.

In short: Christmas sucks.

I can pretend that it is about the over-commercialization of Christmas, the pressure of buying gifts and my hatred of Christmas music (I really do hate Holiday Music). The fact of the matter is I miss my parents. As much as I miss them, I don’t being an as is really the best way to deal with missing them.

Instead of wallowing in grief, this year I’m really going to make an effort not to be a grump. Who knows, maybe we’ll even get a tree this year.

Break’s Over

I was listening to Morning Edition this morning when they played a story on HumanLight. For those too lazy to click on links, HumanLight is a Humanist (secular) winter festival that celebrates reason, hope and compassion. It is an attempt to include agnostics, atheists and humanists into the “holiday season.”

I hate this season, and I am constantly looking for new traditions to replace the ones I’ve lost since my parents passed away. So I listened to this report and found myself saying, “hell yeah, this could totally be it!” when I heard the song from the story. It was Tom Waits meets Ellis Paul singing seventh grader poetry. I found my interest in the festival waning.

I like the idea of a non-religious festival celebrating humanistic ideals. I do not like the idea of soppy poetry with gruff lyrics. My favorite Christmas Song, Fairytale of New York, is not your typical “holiday song” but it has more meaning to me than Silent Night.

So while I search for replacement traditions, fill me in on your own: When do you open presents? What kind of presents do you give and receive? How does your family celebrate this season?