I don’t do it!
When I say I don’t do it, I mean I don’t give gifts, I don’t put up decorations, I don’t send cards, I don’t get gifts, and most of all I don’t run around like a fool trying to make magic happen….anymore.
I’m strong in my belief that Christmas has turned into something I don’t want anything to do with. At least that’s what the world looks like through my eyes.
And before you go thinking I’m non christian, a scrooge, someone lonely and without a family, perhaps even clinically depressed or maybe economically down on my luck so the season of “giving” presents challenges I cannot meet.
You’re wrong. I am none of these.
I was raised in a Christian household, went to church and even though I do not attend a church now, I believe there’s a heaven.
Unlike scrooge, I believe in treating your fellow man (women, children and dogs too…..I’m not really a cat person, however) with love and respect all year.
I have a lovely family. Two wonderful grown children that have given me 5 beautiful grandchildren. They call me Honey! I believe they are so inundated with “stuff” from other grandparents and family members that anything I could give them would be leave little to no impression. I believe they will remember and cherish the time we spend together long after their set of legos gets busted.
And nope, not clinically depressed either. Christmas doesn’t make me sad, unless that is, I’m forced to participate in something I choose not to and that makes me sad weather it’s Christmas or not. I don’t sit in my house and mope around. I don’t wish the world would stop celebrating Christmas. I do wish the world would stop thinking it was just a magic time of year to get gifts.
Compared to the rest of the citizens in the United States, we’re probably doing OK. Of course, we’ve had to downsize, we’ve had our share of economic set backs, but comparatively speaking, a lot of people would envy us. We have almost every electronic gadget known to man and we don’t want for much.
A popular You Tube clip being passed around features a little boy going crazy (and I mean in appropriately crazy) after receiving an iPod. The clip didn’t fill me with Joy, it just made me feel this kid had gotten what he wanted. Is that what this holiday is about?
Have you ever given a list to someone for their Christmas Shopping for you?
One of my favorite people posted on their Facebook status on Christmas Afternoon “…Gift giving is the purest form of friendship…” I thought, Really? I thought my time and attention would mean more to you than something I ordered off the internet.
I worked in a couple of high end retail locations for just a couple of years. I sold the latest and greatest gadgets that everyone wanted. I saw very little joy in the eyes of customers buying these gadgets. What I did see was credit cards being rejected, cranky people that were obviously at the end of their ropes and trying to create a holiday by pushing out all the emptiness in their lives by buying things. Buying things so people would love them.
As an adult, I have always had the feeling of dread when even the mention of Christmas begins.
I remember going to see the movie “Sleepless in Seattle” with a friend when it came out so many years ago. It opens with a house decorated in Christmas lights. I turned to my girlfriend and said “Jesus, I didn’t know this movie was about Christmas, let’s get out of here”! She of course, looked at me like I had lobster crawling out of my ears.
We stayed through the movie, but having coffee after she asked me why I hated Christmas. No one had ever asked me that before, and I had never known that I did. She asked me what Christmas was like as a child.
I remember nothing of Christmas as a child. Just a feeling of dread.
When my kids were little and all through the years, I tried to fake it. They were always to have 5 presents. They would always have the same monetary value and same perceived value. I used to drive myself crazy with this. Because I didn’t remember Christmas I had no tradition to continue, so I tried various things to start my own and they all failed miserably. I just couldn’t manufacture the joy I saw in all the movies, TV shows, etc. My ex-husbands were both pretty much hands off kind of guys, especially when it came to the holidays. If I made the magic happen, they’d attend, but that’s as far as they’d each go. I think most men are that way, at least the ones I know. It’s not magic if you have to provide a list.
My Mother would always send a check for the kids presents and I would knock myself out trying to find something for them and pretend Grandma cared enough to pick it out for them, wrap it and get it delivered by Christmas.
As a young single Mom and even when I was married Christmas was lonely. There was no magic! I worked so hard! There’s no magic.
At first the withdrawal from Christmas was horrendous. I was overridden with guilt.
Now that I’ve sworn off Christmas, and after a couple of years no expectations of Christmas, I feel so much less stress. There are no more knots. I don’t rush around during the holidays. I don’t do anything I don’t want to do. I send no gifts.
I have to tell you, not partaking in Christmas, however, is a little like being the only one not drinking at the company party.
Everyone wants to cajole you into taking a sip, dig deep into your psyche to find out why you’re not partaking, provide peer pressure to get you to play along and offer up some other form of holiday greeting.
“Can I at least say Happy HANUKKAH to you?” God!, just because I don’t fall into the trappings anymore doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate someone wishing me a Merry Christmas!
Now, our Christmas consists of a well loved tradition.
Watching my favorite movie “The Sound of Music” on Christmas Eve and eating some well orchestrated appetizers as our meal. No big meal to cook or clean up after, just eating some favorite foods in front of the TV and singing (also making fun of the Baroness, she’s such a bitch!)
On Christmas Day, a slow and very quiet start to our day with many cups of hot coffee in bed. A very cold but brisk walk with our dog Ed. A perfectly cooked Beef Tenderloin with all the trimmings. Screw the diet! A Lovely dessert of some kind (I’ve even been known to eat that before dinner!). Video chat with the kids, talk with the rest of Kelly’s family and sometimes we might even take a drive around town to see what life there is out and about.
I don’t write this to encourage anyone to abandon Christmas. If you TRULY love Christmas, then celebrate! Make the magic happen and pass on a tradition of love and joy!
Please indulge me for not seeing it your way. See my follow up post on middlesage