I recently watched a show on ABC called The Middle. This particular episode depicted the family wanting to celebrate a simpler Christmas after the parents found old presents from past Christmases unopened and collecting dust in the basement. Key to the episode was when the mother found a rotting orange shoved deep into the red colored stocking. Now, an orange is not something grand so perhaps it had been misplaced by accident however the symbolism to these parents was that their children were spoiled.
This orange was representative of the family’s great-grandmother who during the Great Depression received only an orange in a stocking as a Christmas present. What was so inspiring of this episode was that the parents wanted to revitalize the simplicity of Christmas and to depict to their children how far they had fallen or maybe they just wanted to save pennies.
I felt a little overwhelmed by the episode because we received as children, red stockings filled with Ruby Red Grapefruits, Oranges, Texas Pecans, and handfuls of candies.
Abuelita loved Christmas and made one relative every year dress up as Santa Claus. The real kicker was that Santa always wore a pair of Abuelo’s brown rattlesnake boots and every one had to sit on Santa’s lap. Afterwards, we were handed the stockings. I never complained about the stocking or even questioned the possible cultural or historical significance it held. It was just something I know that we did. There were no Stocking Stuffer toys or other useless crap that is prevalent today in our faux Christmas celebrations. Instead our Abuelitos believed in giving something that could be eaten and it always was.
Christmas to me has become an overindulging time where we boast our standings by what we “get” as presents instead of relishing in the moments as a family. Perhaps, a simpler Christmas is in order. A time where we spend together, grow as a family, and spend way less money. Now, if only I can get my husband Big E on board. Maybe….