The title for this post comes from My So-Called Life. PJ and I have been watching the series again on dvd. Today we watched the Christmas episode. Early on, Danielle (the main character’s younger sister, who has become my favorite character this time around) is tired of her family talking about whether they believe in God and why they don’t go to church (a conversation instigated by Angela) so she asks, “Can we stop talking about religion now? … It’s Christmas!” In a sense, this statement ironically sums up the episode’s commentary about the holiday: that it’s not really about church-based religion but should instead be about people learning to really care about their fellow human beings (in this case, homeless and abused teens, lonesome neighbors, etc.). Or something like that.

I started blogging so I could keep track of my thoughts and impressions on various aspects of my life — movies, books, teaching, travel, etc. This Christmas was quite a bit different from years past, so I definitely think it warrants a brief commemoration. It was so much better than last year, the worst Christmas ever, though I didn’t write about it in those terms at the time, which raises an interesting question about the ethics of blogging that I should write about at some point.

I’ve always thought that Christmas was just for kids — the presents, the cookies, Santa Claus, bad t.v. specials, etc. The transition from me being excited about Christmas to my little sister being excited (she’s 9 years younger than me) was an easy one. Once we both grew up, the holiday didn’t seem very special. Now that I’m in my early late thirties, I can’t say that I find Christmas all that exciting. On the one hand, I hate traveling in the Christmas season. All the hustle and bustle, combined with everyone else’s travel stress, doesn’t appeal to me at all. And I’m at a point in my life when I want to be in my home with my loved one at Christmas.

On the other hand, the whole presents thing is overrated. I’m not particularly good at buying people great presents, and I usually have no idea what I’d like to receive on Christmas morning, though that doesn’t stop me from being vaguely disappointed anyway. The best gift, the truest gift, is the companionship and love I share with PJ every day — nothing in a box is ever really going to compare with that. And while presents are really supposed to be expressions of love and affection, in reality there are other kinds of expressions that I appreciate and crave much more.

Writing about presents reminds me of a great clip from John Waters’ Female Trouble that I ran across this week: