Merigian Studios


A Christmas Tree

Can we celebrate Christmas without a Christmas tree in our home or office or any other place that we tend to congregate? It depends on how one interprets the schema of Christmas, or any other holiday for that matter. My answer is yes, especially if your schema of Christmas doesn't obligate you to putting up a tree.

I do not have a Christmas tree in my home. As of this writing, there isn't one in The Stone Institute either. The tree in the office has always been a task of the women who work with me, and putting it up is at their discretion, not mine. I suspect that our volume of business has detracted from any free time they would have to devote to putting up and taking down Christmas ornaments. That's just an assumption on my part, and certainly no judgment towards them. I have the best office staff; and I value them greatly because they put our patients first before anything else. To me, that's Christmas every day.

Some would visit my home and see very little evidence that in ten days, a large chunk of the world's population will be celebrating the birth of Jesus. Some will celebrate the gift of giving, with no overt connection to the Spirit of the Christ. Some people enjoy the season because, in their eyes, mankind seems to open up and share some kindness to others, especially people with whom they would not normally associate. Although some people have a Fourth of July tree in their home, they seldom participate in a secret George Washington program, picking names off the tree for gift division, or give food and gifts to those families in need as a means to celebrate the Fourth of July.

My past schema of Christmas included a great amount of stress and judgment. Part of my old schema was getting the home "ready" for the holidays, which took up tremendous amounts of time, emotion, work and toil. Every waking hour, I scurried around decorating anything that could possibly be decorated. Everything had a light or a bulb or material on it, making it magical in some form or fashion. The Christmas tree had a theme to connect all the decorations together -- a message of some kind to help everyone understand my true meaning of Christmas. The tree had to be a freshly cut Blue Spruce, eight to nine feet tall and full. It didn't matter how expensive it was, it had to be just right. I always struggled to get the tree home, some years tying it on the top of my car, other years putting it in the bed of my Ford F-150 pickup truck. When I got home, I’d get out the Christmas tree stand and cut the trunk to tightly fit into the support ring and then drag the entire mess into the house. Furniture had to be moved to accommodate it. I would put the tree in the most visible area of my home.

I spent hours putting lights, bulbs, bows, tinsel and other adornments on the tree. There was always a special moment when the tree was complete, I would put Hark the Harold Angels Sing on the audio system, and then I would place an angel on the top to crown the tree. As people came to visit my home, some would compliment me on its sparkling beauty, on the other hand, some would remark about how unconventional the tree was, and how it really didn't express the true Christmas spirit, whatever that was. In one-way or another, the white doves that hung in randomness seemed to make all the difference.

I remember there was over the top stress associated with the ritual of gifting. What to get whom, and why, was a constant pressure filled conundrum. I did not know much about most of the people I felt obligated to gift. My family, my friends, my business associates, and my gym buddies were always on the list. Yet, I had no idea of their desires and personal tastes. How does anyone ask the question, "What are your tastes, style choices, likes and dislikes?” and get an answer that makes sense to the one asking the question? I recall my own experiences of receiving gifts that were not in accord with my personal worldview. How does anyone enjoy a cologne that precipitates a migraine headache?

Now there appears to be a new tradition emerging called, "regifting." It appears that our social culture is unfolding to permit someone to gift another person a present that they themselves received, but have little use for. Sounds like a sophisticated game of hot potato to me. I remember that the self-judgment that emerged from just simply trying to find someone a "happy" was overwhelming. And I am not the only one who felt it, everyone I bumped into in the mall felt it too. Everyone had stress oozing from their sweat pores as they tried to find the perfect gift.

Finally, the Christmas meal was the coup de grace of the season. What should I cook for the celebratory feast? Who is coming to Christmas dinner? I am of Armenian descent, so my traditional Christmas dinner schema is mid-eastern cuisine. I found over time that everyone coming to dinner had their own individual cultural schema of appropriate Christmas food. After cooking for two days, and presenting my best efforts, some guests who didn't like grape leaves or lamb would ask if I would just order a pizza for them. What a disastrous adventure in a season that represents forgiveness, tolerance, and unconditional love for all mankind.

So, what happens now? Not much. I have come to a place of peace about the holidays. Some have accused me of being a Grinch, since I do not engage in the hype and grandiosity of the holidays. I am not anti-Christmas; I consider myself transcendent to the materialism and the need to please others that is so intensely psychologically connected to the whole of the season. I enjoy the simple, stress free avenue. I make people gifts. I cook an Armenian-Paleo meal for my son, his girlfriend and me. We have a quiet sit down feast. I do not go to church services for they are overcrowded and pretentious. I do not buy countless gifts for everyone I know, especially those with six degrees of separation, regardless of their expectations.

Christmas has become a time when the goodness of all has been exploited by the cultural collective of entitlement and consumerism. In order for all humans to have peace on Earth, the holiday is in need of a great repair, a reconstruction so that all men and women can have a day of peace and calm, tranquility and non-judgment, goodwill and spiritual light, and feel the Love of all mankind. This transcendence will emerge one person or family at a time, not in great hoards. Those who fail to recognize the true coming of the season of the Christ Consciousness will forever be entrapped in the snare of the need to satisfy an insatiable urge to fill the void of self love with materialism. They will feel the stress, panic and physical ailments that come with over planning, over thinking and over doing. In the end, they will regret the coming of the season, for its toll will be greater and greater with each coming year.

My wish to all is that everyone finds some peace and sincerity in the days ahead. Prepare for a New Year with a sense of adventure and take a chance to experience others in a light that magnifies the human spirit. At the very least, try not to over indulge, since it is natural for everyone to want to enjoy more and more vibrancy with each coming year, and the investment both economically and emotionally to accomplish that end may give way to anything but a healthy and prosperous New Year.


Posted by Katie Reed at 10:49
Share |