Are visions of sugarplums dancing in your head yet? We are in the midst of that season of imagination, of wonderment, of desperately hoping a good gift idea for your mother-in-law magically pops into your head.
And so, in honour of the season, let’s take a stroll into imaginary lands.
Imagine a world in which there’s no fruitcake masquerading as Christmas presents. Imagine that instead of passing the fruitcake around, we could all use it as doorstops, as it was intended.
Imagine a world where the Christmas lights put themselves up, and you don’t have to watch your husband dangling precariously from a ladder, eighteen feet higher than he should be, without feeling guilty that perhaps you should hold the ladder or something.
Imagine a Christmas with a white blanket of gorgeous snow, rather than brown slush. And imagine that gorgeous blanket of snow is weightless and distributes itself evenly in piles on either sides of the driveway, where it belongs.
Imagine a world where men did most of the Christmas shopping, and where men willingly washed the mound of Christmas dishes. Of course, that would give us women nothing to complain about, and would completely wreck our martyr complex, so maybe that’s not such a good idea. Let’s move on.
Imagine a world where women craved blenders, vacuum cleaners, and bathroom scales, and men actually appreciated ties and button down shirts. Think of the grief we could avoid if we stopped ascribing nefarious motives to the gift-challenged in our families, and truly believed “it’s the thought that counts”—and stopped trying to measure that thought in milliseconds.
Imagine teenagers all over the country shutting off their iPods and video games and rushing to church to sing carols and light candles, or to soup kitchens and synagogues to volunteer. Imagine their younger siblings looking upon Christmas as a wonderful opportunity to sleep in and then make their parents breakfast in bed, before ripping open the presents.
Okay, that last one’s a bit of a stretch.
But that can’t stop me from dreaming. So imagine that instead of spending $28 billion on Christmas gifts we all pitched in the $10 billion it would cost to give the world clean water.
Imagine that everyone invited a lonely neighbour to celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah with us. Imagine just a few days where we can take solace from the world where plant closures are the main topic of conversation, where rushing is the norm, and where cynicism reigns. Imagine instead a day when we can rejoice in Grandma’s potatoes, laugh at Uncle’s antics, and shed a few bittersweet tears over those who are not huddled around the table this year.
Imagine that we could bottle up our gratitude and support and awe of our troops away from home this season, and send it to them Xpresspost with a big bow (and a heap of turkey with gravy).
Imagine a world of gratitude, love, hugs, and harmony. At most times of the year it seems so far-fetched. But perhaps, this season, we can pass from the realm of imagination to the realm of real life. Whether you celebrate Christmas or another holiday, for most of us time stands still. Televisions are silenced, iPods are switched off, the internet is quieted, and we huddle with those we love. It’s not the rest of the year that’s real; Christmas is the real time, when we’re with those closest to us and we’re able to do the things that mean most. Imagine that we took the time this year to live out our values, forgive those from whom we’re estranged, or picked up a phone and called someone.
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