This Christmas was a turning point. For the first time, I came home to celebrate Christmas as a celiac. The traditions that define Christmas are gift-giving, yule longs, mistletoe, and a feast. One realizes as a celiac how much of our holiday traditions revolve around food. Being celiac turns a person into an outsider in all sorts of sudden, surreal ways. When one speck of gluten can damage my health for months, I develop a different way of looking at a loaf of french bread, a Christmas cookie, or a beer. For me, those things are poison, and the holidays are forever altered. Read More
In these bleak economic times, with ever-more disturbing manifestations of consumerism and greed in the news, will this finally be the year that we confront our holiday consumption addiction? I’d hate to tell people to not spend money, spiraling the economy into a deeper dive, but something has got to give.
Every year my parents, my sister and I have bemoaned the harried overconsumption that engulfs us in the two weeks leading up to Christmas. We try to cut back on our shopping, but somehow, “more presents” has come to mean “more love.” Maybe it’s overcompensation for not buying enough gifts for each other throughout the year when we gorge at Christmas time. Every year, my mother says, this year we are going to cut back! We all know there’s something inappropriate about it now that the children are grown. We all know there is something a little weird about sending out our Christmas lists of wishes and wants in mid-December, but we—certainly I—just couldn’t stop doing it.