Have a holly jolly homogenized holiday

I think I figured out my deal with Christmas. And it is all thanks to my love of what is local.

I am re-reading Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, which is all about our broken food system and how we can restore it. The author talks a lot about how things taste differently when they are grown in different regions that have different types of varieties, soil, grass, etc., all of which gets lost when we ship in our genetically modified meat and veggies from far, far away. If we homogenize the world, it becomes harder to know that there is anything else out there and even harder to celebrate biodiversity.

I was thinking about this today when I was washing dishes (again) at work, listening to about the 50th rendition of "Carol of the Bells" on Pandora (the devil's radio). The reason I have a very hard time getting excited about Christmas is because there is this underlying pressure to conform to a specific feeling about the season. We listen to the same 5 songs for over a month because "that's what we do this time of year."

What's that song that goes, "we need a little Christmas, right this very minute..." What does that even mean?

I often hear people say, "it doesn't feel like Christmas." I've said it myself actually. (Sidebar: Today, I was talking with the admission counselor for Chatham University's graduate program. At the end of our conversation, he wished me a Merry Christmas. It caught me off guard actually. I think my internal response was "oh. right. that's Sunday." Why? Because it doesn't seem like Christmas.

Since when did Christmas become an emotion that can be felt? This is why I am always disappointed. And why I still expect to wake up Christmas morning and be about 10 years old at my parent's home on Elm Circle, eat egg casserole, open presents, and get a beanie baby in my stocking. It doesn't happen. Shocking, right?

Like everything else in my life, I often wonder why I am trying to conform to some type of societal guideline about what I am supposed to be doing now that I am 24 or what my life is supposed to look like. Yet, every December, I try to fit my "Christmas experience" into what the commercials tell me it's supposed to be like or feel like or look like. (Even in South Africa, the shop windows near the Pick N Pay in PMB had snowflakes on their windows. It's summer there right now). Christmas should look different in different places.

I've had enough of the cookie cutter experience.

Trying to live up to those jolly expectations is like eating tomatoes from Mexico in February. yuck. Why do we do this to ourselves when there is something better out there?

There are only a few more days before Christmas and now I find myself wondering how I can make this time of the year special and enjoy it as it was meant to be enjoyed. I am not sure I have the answer... but it is something to think about.