20 December 2010

Thriftmas, re-gifting, and a little beth ditto... plus somehow a little jesus and patriarchal santa talk.

Me, this morning, before the outing, waiting for my partner to finish up his Arabic final. We're both finally done with all work this semester -- he'll be going back after the holiday for a few more, but for now, I'm trying to rustle up some gainful-type employment.

(If Santa talk/Jesusy stuff bores you/doesn't apply please skip the next couple of paragraphs. I realize Christmas isn't ubiquitous.)

I've been a little stressed about the holidays. Primarily religious holidays weird me out because they mean such different things of such varying intensity to people. Religion and consumerism all tied up and messy together -- almost vying for dominance. I get into the holidays in what I think is, now, a pretty secular way. I like to decorate (with as few Santas as possible, and pretty slim chances of a Jesus sighting) and make things cheerful because I was socialized to do it. We're don't really "do"Santa with our kid, and at this age, that's something of a concern for his grandparents (one set, I think, is more worried about the lack of Jesus than the lack of Santa). Don't get me wrong, Santa is a part of Christmas: I think, in a way, it would be pretty foolish of me to think I could totally isolate Baby J from a culture that holds a particularly strong regard for that specific fairy tale. Plus, I'm not advocating this decision for everybody with kids. It's a choice to be made, as any other. But, for me and mine, it's a story, you know? I never tell Baby J that Santa's coming to our house or bringing us presents, but neither did I set fire to the little wind-up marching Santa my mom gave him last Christmas. The family and friends in our lives who are so good to us (and who we are, in turn, hopefully just as good to in our better moments) work hard to give gifts to each other, and to us, at Christmas. I don't want to belittle the work they do, and the meaning of those real gifts, by perpetuating this unnecessary myth of a patriarchal figure who has the resources to give "every" kid in the world Christmas gifts. (Every meaning ... not every. Not by a long shot.)

Plus, we're not particularly religious people. I think of Jack, my partner, as being incredibly spiritual--more than I am--but we're not church-y, and  I am strongly not Christian-y. I dig on Jesus because he had a strong political message that I can almost totally get behind (I mean, specifically, Jesus; not the followers who developed the church, but the man himself). But I hesitate to overtly connect Jesus to Christmas right away; I want Baby J to have a chance to learn about Jesus without thinking he's the reason we all get presents and cookies and time off work. I mean, that's kind of strong marketing to kids, isn't it? Once a year (if you're lucky and have particular class/financial privileges required), you get all these presents and tasty foods, and your parents get to actually spend a little time with you. To a lot (though certainly not all) kids, that's an appealing premise. It's just such a huge facking world out there, and somehow I want to show Baby J as much of it as I can as clearly as possible.

Anyway, the title mentions thrifting and I said something up there about an outing. My faboo little brother took me to Goodwill so I could try and get in on a little 99 cent action. I have a tiny budget, but I was able to pick up a couple of things for my mom and a super awesome friend of mine. (I call her my patronus. Yes, she is that awesome.) For better or worse, my mom is a bit of a pack rat. I hesitate to call her a hoarder, but she's got a pretty serious stuff-collection. I was able to find things (a lot of them new/barely used) to re-gift for my partner's family -- plus all the giftwrap/bags/ribbons necessary to pretty them up. I had a good time, but all the stores close early here on Sundays, so brother and I (and possibly partner and sprout) are thrifting yet again in the morning.

On another note, I set foot into a Faith 21 for the first time today. Please do not think me a snob, but hot googly damn, that place isn't for me. Could be my ugh-a-mall syndrome speaking to me, though. Either way, I made it out without buying anything (even though lots of the clearance was comparable to non-sales day thrift prices, it was just such a mess and the music was so goozy I couldn't hack it; I'm a wimp).

This is what I wore today - my thrift tribute to Beth Ditto's most recent season at Evans. Please excuse my photo-awkwardness and defensive slouch. Everything here is thrifted besides the tights and the skirt, which is from Old Navy's cretaceous period.

The solstice is upon us! So happy whatever-makes-you-happy this time of year, or just, you know, hope you're doing well regardless.