Christmas is only 3 short days away; are you excited, stressed out, tired already, or looking forward to the day? Many people have different reactions to the holiday. Some people rejoice at the Savior's birth, even if it is not Jesus' birthday. I rarely celebrate birthdays on the actual day, so who am I to complain about it if people want to celebrate that day since we don’t know exactly what day of the year Jesus was born. Some people observe Christmas as a time of joy and celebration with loved ones and that is amazing too. For some people Christmas is the worst time of the year, they are alone and reminded of that as they have no one to celebrate with. For some people it is horribly stressful because of the sheer financial impact as they feel compelled to spend money they don’t have and even worse if they don’t have it; they feel like failures because they can’t provide nice gifts for loved ones. It means very different things to people.
If you read my blog regularly then you have already picked up that I am a Grinch. I have never really been into holidays and Christmas is at the top of my list for suck.
As a Christian I appreciate that some people take time to believe in Jesus during this time of year and be a little kinder to each other, regardless of birthday correctness. I am glad people enjoy their time with family and friends, I think it makes us all better to do so. I also know the pain and struggle of not being able to afford to buy nice gifts for people, so you feel like a failure or an asshole when someone gets you something nice and all you can reciprocate with is some cheap, generic gift that you hated buying because you know it is ceremonial at best. Or worse, it is hard to receive anything when you can give back nothing.
I have loved ones that are gift givers, that is their natural love language and I don’t want to deprive people of expressing their feelings the way that is natural for them. Gift giving doesn’t even register for me as a love language. In a time of joy and kindness, when I could not afford to give gifts, all I ever felt was rage and self-loathing as I smiled to tried to humor their best intentions.
As a PSA, the saying “it is better to give than receive” applies drastically here. While you feel good giving, some people in their nature are screaming internally as you say “it’s ok, I wanted to get you something anyway. It not a big deal, I know you can’t right now.” The hatred even for people you love at that moment is explosive and you are one drink away from destroying your relationship.
My objections to Christmas stem from the commercialism of the holiday, the mandated gift giving is horrendous. There is an expectation, is it even a real gift if you have to have a cause?
May I suggest an idea? There is a point and it is not just to rant about my feelings of Christmas.
I am not a gift giver, but if 19 years of marriage has taught me anything it is that gifts for no reason other than knowing a person would love something you found is a winner. If I see something that just screams “insert name” then I buy it if I can and send it for no reason. If I am inspired by my feelings for a person, then why wait to express it?
Life is very sudden, it can end without sense or cause. Growing up a preacher’s kid and being a former minister I have been around more than my fair share of death. I have witnessed many a grieving family and one of the things I always hear is the “wish list” things they wish they could say or do with the person who is no longer with them. The regrets are often astronomically more than expected. The Christmas presents that people who shop well in advance become grim reminders of missed opportunities. The expressions of love and tenderness reserved for the holiday go unexpressed.
If you want to celebrate with presents please do, I look forward to watching my children open their gifts. It is perhaps one of the only parts of Christmas I have come to enjoy as a Father. I want nothing, but I love to lavish my children with small gifts. Nothing crazy, just time to watch them enjoy gifts before the commercialism sets in. (they are still younger)
I do not want anyone else to feel about Christmas the way I do.
I do want you to celebrate your loved ones all year. Maybe make Christmas more about the time together and stop measuring it with presents (you can tell yourself you don’t, many people do).
Celebrate and express your love and fondness all year long, don’t wait to say, “I Love You.” Don’t wait to give a gift that screams “insert name,” if you are inspired to give them something and you can, then do it. No pomp or pretty ribbons, just a simple bag will do.
Don’t wait, love each other now and every day!
Be better tomorrow because of what you do today!
aka The Fallible Man