Occupy Christmas. I could come up with a whole slew of definitions for how these two words fit together. For example, how we shouldn’t be so fixated on consumerism, how we’re digging ourselves even deeper holes with holiday debt, and so on. But, I choose to see this all a little differently.
Looking over the past year, it’s pretty clear that social networking has played an enormous role in bringing people together. All over the globe there have been uprisings whose momentum was powered by the Internet, notable examples being of course the Occupy movement, the Anonymous collective, and upheaval in Egypt, Libya and across the Middle East. The repercussions of these uprisings were huge and unpredictable. Occupy Wall Street, for example, quickly spread around the world as protesters pitched tents and didn’t leave. None of this could have been possible without the momentum behind the movements: the networking that brought people together.
So, Occupy Christmas. What does it mean to me? And what do I think you should allow it to mean to you? Many would interpret a need to take over and reform Christmas. But I think there is a more subtle message: we have an opportunity to make the most out of the holiday as we can. To milk it.
As many of the writers and readers at Rover may suggest, the “meaning of Christmas” is kind of blurred these days. But along with the anti-consumerist hoopla, I’m going to focus on what’s still hanging around Christmas today. Namely, all the good vibes, happy people and family gatherings. I’m just going to bring it up, to emphasize it, in case any of it has been lost in shopping translation.
For me, Christmas this year will be unlike any other. My siblings and I are “all grown up” now. We’ve all got our own lives and responsibilities, even while some of us are still living at home. Certain things got in the way of other things this year and we’re a week away from the “big day” still without a tree. The fact that it is the holiday season has barely even sunk in. In fact, for a few good reasons, Christmas has been on the back burner this year. Well, Christmas as many of us know it, with gifts and trees and food.
But not being distracted by gift shopping and decorating has brought us closer to the togetherness of Christmas. In fact, due to recent events, it’s fair to say that this togetherness has been emphasized. Something good can be pulled from almost every difficult situation, and this year Christmas has taught me a thing or two about family. Family brings a sense of love and security that I now know nothing can compete with. Whoever your family is, be it chosen or not, there is a level of peacefulness that can only be reached when one is surrounded by this unconditional love, respect and togetherness. It is the gift we receive from those that we hold close.
Whether this Christmas is gearing up to be the best one yet, or not quite; whether you’ll be home for the holidays find yourself on a flight or at a desk or at a night shift, keep in mind the ones you care about. Yeah, it sounds kind of obvious, maybe even cheesy. But I truly believe in the power of coming together, and that’s what the holidays give us. It’s also a great time to muster up that forgiveness you’ve been holding back in your throat for so long.
So, here’s an idea for occupying Christmas. Consider all the tools we have today for staying connected. Use them. Make the most of all the love that’s floating around during the holidays. Make it last. There’s no reason all this serenity should be relegated to only the holidays. Make an effort to make someone’s day on a daily basis. Show you care. Fix the things you’ve let go stale, stop putting them off. And, as for those of you who feel like you don’t have any family to turn to during the holidays, don’t sell yourself short. Smile as much as you can. Someone is waiting to come into your life.
Make a difference this Christmas by keeping the love running. Occupy Christmas by spreading it throughout the year. It’s really pretty easy, it’s just a question of us coming together and making it happen. We have the events of the past year to prove that we can do it.
Catherine Averback is an 18-year-old student who’s a music lover and aspiring journalist. She started writing with Rover in June 2011 as a Festival City reporter and later moved on to writing profile/review pieces on musicians including The Barr Brothers, Og Hindu Kush and Dallas Green.