Christmas is coming. Isn't that funny? Right now millions of us are shocked, saddened and scared by the results of this election. We feel like racism and sexism are suddenly the norm -- like the country we love isn't the country we thought it was. And yet, in six weeks Santa arrives. Do we celebrate knowing that the inauguration is less than a month later? Well first of all, yes, of course we do. One should never give up the right to watch Love Actually on repeat or put out a garish inflatable lawn decoration. We are still Americans, after all. But perhaps this year we celebrate a little differently.
The holiday season is (ideally) a time to celebrate each other and the year we just had. We think of items that will bring joy to the people we love (or whatever we could find on Amazon Prime on December 22nd) and we wrap them in brightly colored paper. We laugh and eat and open gifts in living rooms all over the country. We recharge with one another for the year to come. And this year, we need a serious recharge.
For people that care about human rights, civil rights, women's rights or the environment, these next years will be discouraging and difficult. But from what I've seen this week, no one is giving up. So this year, instead of giving mom another mug that won't fit on her mug shelf anyway, donate to Planned Parenthood because women's healthcare is important to her. Instead of giving your younger cousin a sweater that's probably not on fleek, donate to the National Urban League because he is heavily involved in the Black Lives Matter movement on his college campus.
Countless organizations and causes are going to need our support in the coming years. You'll have plenty to choose from. Americans spend about $465 billion on the holidays. We are a very festive folk. Why not invest more of it into getting our country back on track and less into socks with pugs on them?
Let's be clear -- this idea isn't a cop out. Don't light the menorah and then mumble to your brother, "Hey man, I donated ten bucks to the Sierra Club 'cause you like trees." Make it clear why you chose the organization you did. Celebrate each other and the world we're trying to create. Support for these organizations is important, but so is support for one another. At this point we are literally fighting for the future of our planet and the rights of all people in our country. (I carefully considered my use of the word "literally" in that sentence and it's appropriate.) And after the week we just had, the task is more daunting than ever. So throw back some eggnog with your family and get ready to fight the good fight.
Two things to consider: First, I understand, this idea won't work in all families. Perhaps your parents will be adorned with bright red MAGA hats on Christmas morning. A donation to the Human Rights Coalition may not thrill your gun-toting Uncle. That's okay. Although the holidays may be less therapeutic and more rage-inducing, what you can do is listen. Give it your best effort. I simply cannot believe that 60 million people are racist and sexist and hateful. So how did this happen? The people in our lives who voted differently could be a great resource. (Although as soon as racial slurs start flying, return the Bass Pro t-shirt you bought good ole' Unc and donate the money to, like, anything.) And second, I'm not suggesting you give your four year old niece a donation certificate from the DNC. We want our children to like America.
When proposing this idea to my own family, I initially titled it: "To Hell with Those Jerkfaces on Christmas." However, then I thought "W.W.M.D.?" (What Would Michelle Do?) And she would not go low, she would go high. So next month, let's all "go high" for the holidays. (You can even take it to another level in California, Massachusetts and Nevada now.) Do your research. Think of what's important to you and the people you love. Be creative. Be passionate. Be restored. Because the fight rages on come January. So in living rooms all over the country this holiday season, while wearing questionable pajamas, let us prepare for battle.