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IN A CHRISTMAS PICKLE!

Posted on December 10, 2013 at 2:10 PM

I should have learned by now that God has perfect comic timing with an enormous sense of humor and style. Not two hours after I made an official and very public pledge on Facebook that we as a family had decided not to purchase anything this Christmas season, I broke The Christmas Pickle. Chaos and anarchy soon followed, but let me start at the beginning.

We are one of the few families that I know of that observes The Christmas Pickle or TCP tradition. A pickle ornament is hidden somewhere on your Christmas tree and the first person to find the pickle receives good luck in the following year. It's one of those cutesy family traditions that don't really have a lot of meaning unless of course you break the stupid pickle.

I wanted this Christmas to be wonderful, magical, spiritual and stress free. I wanted to celebrate Christmas in a commercial free environment, take it back to basics and wallow in the true meaning. For me this had a wonderful side benefit of avoiding; lines, parking lots, UPS drivers, Black Friday and the waves of "good cheer" emanating from the masses of shoppers that can be found at any store searching for the perfect gift. We decided to make this season of giving exactly that...giving of ourselves. Giving our love, talents and or time to the people and causes that matter the most to us. Then I made the mistake of crowing about it on Facebook in a totally humble but possibly slightly pretentious way. I think that is what caught God's attention in the first place and He conceived then implemented a lesson that would send shockwaves throughout my family.

The endless tubs of Christmas decorations came out of the attic and wrapped in the knowledge that I was both environmentally and spiritually practicing Christmas, I began going through them one by one. There is a reason why arrogance is subtitled under Pride as one of the Seven Deadly Sins and it is often sent back to bite you in the butt! Immediately after the shock of shattering TCP, I ran through then discarded several plans of damage control, but none of them including duct tape were going to work. I had to Man up and tell the family that I broke TCP and remind them of our newly minted vow.

My first indication that this wasn't going to fly was my son's reaction. No argument on my part would sway him away from the statement that I had ruined Christmas....forever! My daughter was convinced that we as a family were going to suffer seven years of bad luck because she's sure that she read it on some reliable website. My granddaughter cried....big heaping pools of tears. No one actually used the words, "Grinch, Scrooge or Burgermeister", but I got the point. I immediately started making phone calls and searched the internet for a replacement when it hit me. I had fallen back into the trap. Could Christmas only be Christmas if I have a glass pickle ornament hanging in our tree? Can the spirit of Christmas be deflated by a broken ornament? It was time to call a family meeting.

I am happy to announce that after some discussion and a well organized debate that we as a family faced the destruction of TCP with some nudged grace. We had faced our first hurdle and once again pledged to celebrate Christmas with love, laughter, fellowship, respect and a light footprint.

What I thought was one lesson, turned out to be another, then another. Was I busted for my self-pride, or was I being gently reminded that I still didn't get it? Christmas isn't contained within a glass pickle, nor can it be ruined or saved by surrounding ourselves with the traditional sounds, smells and sights of the season. It is within each of us and can be as easily shared with a smile and a kind word or deed as with a carefully chosen gift. Don't get me wrong, I love decorating for the holiday and will continue to do so, but I know that it is only stage dressing for the true meaning of Christmas.

But I also like covering all my bases and on the off chance that my daughter's dire prediction has even a smidgeon of truth, we're not taking any chances! You don't mess with Mother Nature or bad luck rituals, and I believe that I mentioned God's sense of humor, so you will find a compostable gherkin stringed up and hanging somewhere on our tree!

Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Chris Ward

Categories: Earth Friendly

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