Now before you start judging me for my anti-festive attitude let me tell you why I wish I could skip Christmas every. single. year.
I don’t decorate much for Christmas. I let my girls assemble and decorate my three-foot pre-lit tree this year (after Thanksgiving) and called it done. Last year, I gave in and bought live mini-tree, but it was by the roadside before lunch on Christmas Day. I would rather spend my money and time on my family than on decorations that stay in a box most of the year.
We don’t give many gifts in our family. My husband and I rarely buy each other gifts, preferring to spend the money on paying off debts or spending time together on dates. My children receive four gifts only (a thing you want, a thing to wear, a thing you want, and a thing you need) plus a stocking full of candy or little what-nots like socks, gloves, and lip balm.
Earlier and earlier Christmas comes, overriding Thanksgiving and focusing on buying that perfect gift for everyone you know. So much so that in recent years the focus hasn’t been on giving thanks at all but on the ever present need to buy, buy, buy! And if you don’t want to “buy” for everyone, you can always DIY! (Pinterest is chock full of ideas if you need some.) But society and social media tell us that we need to give STUFF. People need stuff.
Or didn’t you know?
My spirit wants to give. Part of me desperately needs for the people in my life to know I love and care for them… even the people who are just nice to me at work. (Who knew that a smile and a wave could stir such feelings of devotion?)
I think to myself “I could make some homemade lotion with shea butter and essential oils for these folks, and it would be so cool to make a batch or three of this cookie to give out to those. And I can get those cute little mason jars too!” For those closest to me I think and think on what to give them, my girls especially. I believe that there is that PERFECT gift out there, somewhere, I just need to find it. So I start the search online and in stores. But let’s not pay too much for that perfect gift or its not as perfect, so I better search for the best deals too. (Who doesn’t love a bargain right?)
So why do I obsess over gifts? Because if I don’t give the right gift, my friends and family won’t know how important they are. Or if I get the “wrong” gift they might think I don’t know them well enough to at least choose something they will love! What kind of a friend would I be if my friend opened her gift and thought “Why in the world did she get me this? Does she even know me?”
And getting gifts isn’t much better for someone who feels like I do. I feel the gift-givers eyes on me, expectant and hopeful maybe, pleased and proud too. I feel the pressure to love what I’ve been given, and I’m embarrassed that I’ve been given a gift in the first place! (I also don’t handle compliments or praise very well.)
Oh, the inner turmoil of Christmas. One day, I will spend Christmas in the Bahamas or Greece and Jingle Bells will be the last thing on my mind.
So I say to you family, friends and co-workers, acquaintances that I smile and wave to in the hallways, and to my children most of all:
You are special to me but I don’t always know how to show you with material gifts. I will show you my love and friendship throughout the year with time spent, phone calls made, hugs freely given, and listening to your fears and doubts.
If your gift, should you receive one from me, is odd, I apologize. Please don’t hold it against me that I’ve given you a gift card to the same store three years running or that you didn’t really *need* another scarf.
If you have given me a gift, know that I cherish the thoughts you had when you chose it for me, but do not expect me to know what to do with my hands when I say thank you.