We have one of those nifty digital antennas on the TV. You know… one of the ones that you buy at the store that is the box that promises free HD quality programming. There is enough technical nerdiness in the house to get really excited about seeing how many channels you can get in with the satisfaction that none of it is being paid for. Muwahaha…!
Upon setup, you have to navigate the remote to find section of the menu that will tell the tv to scan through all of the available channels. I have to admit, that the numerous times that we’ve done this, there is more excitement seeing how high the number of available channels that are picked up is actually more exciting than the programming that comes in. The progress bar moves across the screen, and there are always two local stations from Grand Rapids that come in (which is good, because one of them is an all weather station which tends to be on most of the time… the kids think we’re lame).
After that, it is a crap shoot on channel selection. There are three religious stations that are in perpetual fundraising mode that come in about 80% of the time. Maybe… we’ll get in some programming from a university in the area. What I’m really hoping for is some signal from Detroit so that the Lions games can be enjoyed in the background of a Sunday afternoon… but the planets really need to be aligned for that to come in.
Occasionally we’ll get the local CBS station… but never while the sun is up… and only if the antenna is positioned flat on a little stand at a 45 degree angle facing southeast.
All that to say: we don’t watch a lot of television, and the extent of our knowledge typically involves what high pressure system is going to be bringing snow into the area (better make sure there is enough wood in the house for the stove.)
With channel availability at a minimum at home, I can say that this holiday season has been less stressful on the materialism front.
There is no advertised pressure bombarding my system to have the latest and greatest toy that will end up on a shelf or in a garage sale someday.
There is no feeling that the simplicity which we enjoy in our little corner of the wooded world is not enough to keep up with the rest of society.
There is no lack of conversation due to the fact that if we need to zone into anything… it will be each other.
It is easy this time of year… while rebuilding a family unit to look at years that have gone by and feel that you need to at least live up to the materialism of the past. Spend money that you don’t have… on things that you don’t need.
Intentionally limiting the amount of television programming that has come into the house has helped to develop an ethos of sitting together throughout our day and talking… playing music… coloring… eating… laughing with (and at) each other… going for walks… or enjoying the comfortable silence that just being together brings.
We are looking forward to a simpler Christmas this year, in part due to the fact that the glowing materialism that pixelates itself across the TV screen has been tamed… and the closeness of family time has been nurtured.
After all… isn’t that what we really remember from days gone by… the warmth of just… being… together.