What if instead of fighting about politics and religion over the same tiresome meals and traditions, families of the future get high for Christmas celebrations that are full of joy and laughter?
In less than a week, if you are like a large percent of Americans, you are going to go and spend several hours with your extended family. You will have shopped for weeks and spent a frightening percentage of your earnings to buy gifts, food, travel expenses and whatever holiday joys are part of your families traditions. And while these reunions are indeed mostly joyous occasions, they are also often full of tension, anxiety and obligation.
Somebody will start talking about how Trump is going to make the country great again, and somebody will argue that Hilary had more experience and knowledge, and still another will chime in that both of them were horrid examples of humanity and it should have been Bernie/Gary/Jill/etc. Maybe you have that one cool cousin that makes devil horns and and roars “Vermin Supreme!” Regardless, things are about to get uncomfortable.
At some point your Aunt Marla points her finger at your mom, then at your sister, and says something about an abortion in ninth grade. From here the gloves really come off and Jesus enters the ring. It is now a holy war between the atheists and fundamentalists, with the agnostics quietly trying to keep your Wiccan nephew from entering the fray.
Add enough alcohol and things are probably going to get pretty ugly.
Eventually as desserts are served, football games get intense or people scatter outdoors to fart in private – things cool back down. Gifts are given and all is forgotten. Consciously, at least. But there is a reason you do not visit most of these people the rest of the year, even though while you were growing up you thought they were all incredibly interesting despite these differences and would have spent as much time as possible with them if you could.
Maybe your family Christmases are better than that, or worse. To you, at least. Maybe my outlook is overly cynical. Yet there is something about this that rings true to at least half of us, and I would expect at least 2/3rds.
So let’s take a look at how it could be if someday, as part of new traditions, your family got high for Christmas.
At about 3:30 the family starts pouring into your grandparents house. Everybody has brought a pound of their favorite strain they grew this last season, as well as their favorite munchies to share and the ingredient they drew last year for the Christmas Taco Bar. There are concentrates and edibles and all kinds of goodies, as well.
By four o’clock everyone has arrived and is the mood is festive. Under a large decorated cannabis plant in the corner of the den are dozens of bags of various nugs. At 4:15 all of the kids are given just a tiny piece of a cannabis brownie and sent to the basement to chill for a bit. Not enough to really affect them, but enough to make them feel part of the families traditions, as they do with wine or beer in some other places.
At 4:20 the adults head out to the deck or to the garage and blaze up. Joints, blunts and bongs make their way around. Great grandma Esther sits quietly at the window smiling with a vape pen hanging from the corner of her mouth. Cannabis, in fact, saved her from cancer and is the reason you get to spend another holiday with her.
By 5:00 everyone is pitching in to get the Taco Bar set up on one table, while another is full of various munchies from gummy worms to bbq fried pork rinds. Before you eat, the people that pray do that, and the people who don’t honor them quietly with silence while making funny faces at each other. And just before dinner grandpa puts your families traditional sing-along song on so you can belt it out together as a family.
Everyone makes a few tacos and quenches their munchies, but nobody gets too stuffed, because people full of too much food and gas aren’t generally agreeable to be around. That was a big problem with the old days, grandpa says, everyone ate and drank themselves into a terrible mood. On top of that, the gift giving was excessive. It was just a compulsion that kept escalating until everyone bled themselves dry buying everyone else things they probably didn’t need.
That is not to say you no longer give gifts. You just giver fewer and more meaningful gifts. Things that you have grown or made specifically for the person you are giving it to. There is not necessarily an equal exchange of gifts. Nobody considers this a chance to score some booty, but to trade in items imbued with personal meaning in a way which makes nobody feel obligated. Most of the gifts are the ones the children make and give to one another, items that are cherished without expectation, greed or envy.
After the family gift exchange the kids go back downstairs for the adults strain exchange. As bags make their way around from nose to nose and everyone talks about what they brought, everyone takes whatever they want from their favorite strains. It keeps getting passed around until the big bags are empty and dispensed into dozens of reusable storage containers everyone brought, so that everyone has a good variety of different strains for the next year. Then everyone who wants to freshens their buzz.
Meanwhile the kids have been downstairs rehearsing for the pageant. Some of them have worked together, some of them are solo acts. They have comedy, music, puppet shows and whatever else they can imagine. And they will have a chance to perform it freely for their entire family. The greatest gift ever, the approval and support of those you love for doing things you enjoy and work at hard at. No toys or gizmos could ever compare to that.
When that is all over people make their last tacos and help to clean up. Some people gather by the fireplace for stories of the silly old Christmases. Other gather around the piano and play and sing. Others gather into smaller groups and talk or play games. The discussion is jovial, the play is fun and nothing about this Christmas has felt anxious or forced. At the end of the day it feels less like surviving an annual ordeal and more like contentment and love.
Is that how it would necessarily be if your family go high together on Christmas? Not at all. There were many other elements to this hypothetical Christmas, all of which make sense in the framework of cannabis consciousness. Less concentration on long form tradition in favor of evolving ones that meet the desires of your family, and far less concentration on mindless, obligational consumerism and other compulsive behaviors that are part of our holiday culture.
Cannabis is not just a medicinal plant, but a cultural lens from which to view humans past, present and future. And it tends to imbue certain values that cause critical focus on some of our greatest dogmas. The growing use of marijuana among adults will almost certainly transform all parts of our lives in both subtle and glaringly obvious ways. It will likely even change how your family someday celebrates the holidays, even if it is nothing like what I described.
In the meantime, do not force it on your family. Do not sneak some kush into the creamed corn and hope for the best, because not only will it likely turn out badly for you and your family, you will help demonize cannabis. Instead take the time to talk to your family about it. Present your ideas respectfully and genuinely. Explain to them why prohibition is essentially wrong and a violation of the human principles we all agree upon, regardless of politics or religion. And prepare them for the chance that they might someday try it and might need some information and advice that you can give them.
Back when I worked at headshops we saw many families visit us as a shared joyful experience unlike you would normally see in family shopping trips, which led us to coin the phrase, “The family that smokes together, stays together.”
From me to you and your loved ones – Merry Cannamas!