Uncle Jody, on the phone, to my 5 year old nibbling Siobhan: So, have you been naughty, or nice?
Siobhan: Honestly, a little bit of both.
Word. Welcome to the club, nibbling.
Mairead, eating a chocolate covered strawberry from a gift box: It’s not really that good.
Discarding the strawberry after sucking the chocolate off: I need another one.
Weeping, to no avail: I need it right now!!
Sugar does this to me too, kid.
Finn committed to waking up early to do reconnaissance of the gift spread, picking up the traditional work of the eldest child (me). I feel proud.
I’m not sure if he followed through because I stayed up last night watching A Very Murray Christmas Special (pretty cool) and then Jurassic World while drinking naughty eggnog and wondering what it is (but not wondering enough to look at ingredients because…drank).
Also, Finn said his destiny is to “create a dinosaur park where nature controls nature”.
I grew up as a hardcore magic Santa enthusiast. A few years ago I asked my family not to give me gifts, because…anticapitalism. I totally meant it when I asked, I really did. In my mind.
They still tease me for the forlorn look on my face that morning.
I still look in the mirror each Christmas Eve and sing, ‘Hello. It’s me. I was wondering if you’re ready to live life without the greed.’
I want less and less each year, I’m growing. But this year I needed a red rice cooker, so.
When I was a kid, like 6, one of my parents’ friends dressed up as Santa and came over to surprise us. My commitment to Santa was so deep that even though I recognized this man, I just created a narrative in which I just happened to be friends with Santa, and thus I had to help him maintain his cover the other 364 days of the year.
I miss my dog Sugarfoot at Christmas, even though I’ve spent more time without her than with her now. Her enthusiasm for her gifts was so pure. The last time I saw her was a Christmas, on an island in the south Pacific where she will always be.
I love a well conceived gift. Giving or receiving. I separate that out from monetary consideration, giving gifts of various value with the same glee, receiving my nibblings’ works of art as works of immense value, etc.
I love the convergence of family, even as it exhausts me. It’s true our time left on this earth together is limited, and this time of relative health and presence is precious. Showing up in my wholeness doesn’t mean not getting short with my parents or jumping into business that isn’t mine…it means apologizing faster, getting to gratitude and compassion with more ease, trusting love to hold us. Really, we’re all so tired and so in need of familial attention.
I love anticipation. I love surprises. I love shared joy. I love the kind of magic children can perpertuate and inspire.
I hate competition, commercialism, consumerism, capitalism, and candy overload.
I love living my values in real time. Some years that has meant participating in the holidays with resistance, or sarcasm, letting everyone know I’m better than Christmas.
But I’m not, not yet anyway.
I love the way my family does this holiday – with a sprinkle of the sacred, a touch of tradition, mostly focused on the way we give to each other, weaving a system of caring for each other.
In terms of what being a radical home for the holidays looks like to me this year…I am convinced that authentic relationship, deep transparent love between two or more people that makes each person feel more free, is central to the path to liberation. This is the main practice ground of my family each year. My active question is: can I show up, offer appreciation, care, generosity, spaciousness, wonder and kindness to these people I love? Also, can I relinquish my righteousness, control and judgment?
Mariah Carey’s Christmas album is still some of her best work.
To get through Christmas, I think of my late grandfather’s Jesus, who came from poverty and displacement, whose parents sought asylum at closed doors, who rolled with the meek, washed the feet of sex workers and went on long meditation retreats.
Then I color him in with my historically accurate crayon set, the Boyega chocolate shade.
I speak to him like a time traveling comrade, saying ‘look at #blackxmas!’, saying we haven’t given up on ourselves as a species.
It helps me, feels like idealogical aikido. Christmas is just an energy moving in the world.
I have more thoughts but it’s absolutely time to go play. Love y’all.