Monday, December 24, 2012

Skipping Christmas

Christmas. One word that has so many different meanings for different persons. For most of us, perhaps, it means family gatherings, for others—it’s parties, for shoppers it mean great discounts, for bakeries it’s good business, for church workers it’s a lot of works :) But for Luther Krank—an accountant who lives with his family in suburb called Hemlock—Christmas means…chaos! Well, Christmas in my country has never been a big festive season (Indonesia is a multi-cultural and multi-religions country), so I can’t imagine the hectic season of Christmas, but from Grisham’s description in this book, I can understand how Christmas can bring stress to some people.

Back to the story, Luther—from his accountant’s point of view—think that Christmas is just wasting of money for nothing. So, he decided to skip Christmas this year, and instead, bought a cruise program for him and Nora his wife, as their daughter was in Peru this year. Apparently the Kranks’ plan—very personal it was—surprisingly, affected so many aspects of Hemlock’s life. Hemlock won’t win the city’s award for best Christmas decoration this year because there’s one house that did not put Frosty up its roof, for instance. The police and the firemen won’t get their annual Christmas donations, neighbors would miss getting invited to the best Christmas Eve party, and many other trivial that looked simple but annoying.

The Kranks get annoyed because the neighbors were scornful to them, but the thoughts of the cruise and the beaches could calm them down for the time being. Until one telephone call changed everything. Blair—their daughter—made a surprise by saying that she would spend Christmas Eve at home with her fiancĂ©e, because she missed their family’s Christmas Eve. And now….the real Christmas panic has begun…

This is one of Grisham’s works out of legal theme. However, as all of his legal thrillers, Grisham could grab my full attention to this book. The idea is simple, and none of the characters is loveable, but this book brought several thoughts and reflection to me.

First, I’m overwhelmed by how far Christmas has been commercialized nowadays, as if every business owner thought they could force customers to buy from them just because it’s Christmas. And look how much money spent during this festive season! In this modern life, it’s very sad that we have forgotten what Christmas really means, and why we celebrate it. Although Grisham did not touch the religious aspects, I can see that he wanted to criticized how Christmas has now absurdly changed to a hedonism justification; when it’s alright to spend $ 6000 for expensive gifts and luxury dinner once a year--it’s Christmas anyway!

Grisham wanted to bring Christmas’ meaning back to peace, love and togetherness. Christmas is supposed to be a day when we make peace with everyone, to have a pleasant time with family and friends, and to be grateful for all we have had that year. In this book you’re going to find people shout at each other in the hectic moments, where wives yells their husbands to climb the roof in the cold of night to get Frosty up the roof. *sigh*

Christmas is the day we celebrate Christ’s birthday, and did those people really believe that yelling each other was what Christ wants to be His gift? Or the worst…people had forgotten that Christmas is the celebration of Christ’s birth. Yeah, they thought Christmas is all about frosty, Rudolph, trees and santa. I thought only children believe at those things, but in this story particularly, seems that everyone truly believe in it. Three and a half stars for Skipping Christmas, it’s not a very enjoyable story—it’s rather flat actually—but it reminded me again about how I should think about Christmas. You can skip all the Christmas attributes, but do not ever scrap the meaning of Christmas from your heart!

Apart from the book, I admit that this year our family’s Christmas tree don’t sit on the usual place. Yeah, we don’t have a tree, we don’t exchange gifts, we don’t have a special dinner. From the outside we seemed to be skipping Christmas like the Kranks, but deep in our heart—I know that me and my parents—we are preparing a special place for Christ who’s coming on Christmas Eve. :)

Last but not least…I want to wish a Merry Christmas for all my fellow bloggers, readers, and followers!

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