Ho ho ho, Silent Night, Falalalala-la-lah-tee-dah, and all that jazz. Hello, my name is Chris… Chris Mess. I am what used to be a gentle, simple holiday which celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ. He is the Lord of those who practice Christianity. At first I was all about the faith, then about family, then Queen Victoria decided that personal Christmas cards would be a dandy idea. Then merchants figured out how to market them and now my list is up to 150, so…well…you know. Now, in 2015, the holiday season has more to do with commerce, parties and outfits than with the birth of Jesus. I am not judging here, just observing, for if people choose to jump on this train of festivity with little or no spiritual interjection, that is their business. Have fun. We live in a free country, so we have the freedom to observe religion and holidays in any way we choose. Good for us. Still, I have to admit that once Halloween passes, my stomach starts to knot up a bit thinking of what is to come. The competitive gift giving is a lost cause for me. I become so overwhelmed when I see red and green lights on display in September that a piece of me goes on lock down. Visions of Chris Mess past-watching children open gifts, squeal with delight, then toss them aside in anticipation of opening another better one-sort of hose my enthusiasm with cold water, ya know? Memories of holiday weight gain, family gatherings gone bad and credit card overloads float a gentle heaviness over my head during the season. Not to mention the hangovers. As I write this, I have a party cake in the oven, wrapping paper littering my bedroom, and boxes of decorations scattered around my porch and home. I cannot decide what to do next. Christmas cards? Maybe? Maybe not. Who will notice? Egg Nog? Maybe. Cholesterola gift or two? Review my calendar for the weekend to make sure that parties don’t overlap? OK. In a way, I love all the bustle of December, but on the other hand, I feel a bit overfed and watered, if you get my drift. I wonder what would happen if everyone celebrating Chris Mess would take a vow to turn down the volume on the parties and the purchases for just one year, you know, to see what would happen. What if we all vowed to only shop small local businesses that gave back to the community and to listen more while we talked less. What if everyone out there sacrificed one mocha half caff peppermint froo froo in exchange for giving that $5 to a local school or church instead? What if we each sacrificed one party for that same amount of time volunteering in the community? What if, instead of exchanging the obligatory Christmas gifts with our family, we chose to feed a family who has no money for a meal? What would happen? Would the global economy collapse? Probably not. I should figure this out and spread the word but, hey, I gotta go. I have two parties tomorrow and need to go buy a couple of gifts to trade. Oh, hell, I forgot about the cake! Gotta run. But Merry Chris Mess. Really, have a merry one. Cheers.