It’s that time of year again when I remind everyone what the greatest gift of all is: love. And love is free. I would rather have your love all year long than an expensive present. I love the thought behind gifts, but what I love most is being with the people who are family, whether by blood, marriage, or friendship. That’s the most important thing this time of year. Family. It’s something we missed out on last year to keep everyone safe, but I’m actually really excited to get back into something more normal this year. And it’s going to be a great Christmas.
With that in mind, I’d like to do my annual Christmas reminders:
- It’s easy to get caught up in spending a fortune on Christmas presents. I’ve learned a long time ago that I never go into debt for Christmas presents anymore. Your kids and family members may like the presents for the short-term, but your credit score and financial stability are far more important than being impressive. If you can afford fancy, go for it. If you can’t, it doesn’t matter. Your thoughtful gifts matter no matter how much they cost.
- Don’t forget to give back. Find some little way to give back this year. You may not think that you’re fortunate, but I guarantee there are plenty of people out there that wish they were as “unfortunate” as you are. Buy that bag of groceries to donate to a food pantry or family in need. Buy grocery items off the list for the U.S.O to help our troops. And don’t forget the furry cuties in the shelters, who could also very much benefit from your generosity.
- Be kind. Holidays can be extraordinarily hard for some people. Maybe they recently lost someone they loved and this is the first holiday without them. Maybe they are missing someone every year that they wish could be with them. Maybe they have no one to share the holidays with. Even if you can’t be bothered to go out of your way to be kind, do everything in your power not to be an ass.
- It’s all about family and those who matter most to you. These are the people who are there for you for your ups and downs. Take this time to really cherish how fortunate you are this holiday season as you are surrounded by love. I know I will.
I say all of this as a self-professed Grinch who absolutely hates the holidays. There are better emotions to spend your energy on this holiday season than negativity. You may even find some glimmer of hope this year. Because we could all use some of that after the past year or 2 that we’ve had.
I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a Christmas person. I could tag all of my blogs where I talk about my hatred for the holiday, but I don’t think we have the time for that. It’s all a chore. You run around to get gifts, hide them, horribly wrap them so that people think your kids did it when you’re really just a lefty that is incapable of cutting anything properly, only to have to clean up the mess and worry about paying back the obscene amount of money that you spent on gifts. Then you worry you didn’t get enough. The only real joy is the whole 5 seconds after they open their presents before they move onto the next one. Then they give you a thank you, if you’re lucky. (Fortunately, I am.) You go through all that and then 3 months later they don’t even play with that really awesome thing that you got them, that they really wanted. It’s a thankless holiday that doesn’t even give you brownie points that last more than a week.
I know. It’s supposed to be about important things like family and blah blah blah. But the thing is, between other kids and all of those ads on televisions, you do feel like you have to meet expectations. There’s always those people that brag about how much they have under their tree and you get too embarrassed to show what’s under yours. It’s stressful. People play the holiday to put a price tag on love. My price tag isn’t much, so I guess I don’t love my family as much as those people who go thousands of dollars into debt for the holiday.
I’m not sure if it’s the holiday season, my ridiculous levels of sleeplessness, my inability to shake this whatever illness/consecutive illness, or it’s just a case of the “can’t evens”. Spending half my morning arguing with a 7 year old about how maybe his jeans would be skinny enough if he wasn’t tall and lanky like his father doesn’t help. Or that maybe had he not thrown his favorite winter hat in the trash on accident and now I can’t get rid of the smell so I had to make him wear his old Paw Patrol hat. Which apparently was a bad call, since the kids at school made fun of him for it. Which led to him not bringing it home. Which led to me having to give him a Star Wars hat, leading to the “what if they make fun of me for liking Star Wars when I don’t? I just like baby Yoda.” It was a thing, and my eyes couldn’t stop rolling back. I thought I would lose them over this case of the “can’t evens”.
What can you do about the “can’t evens”? My play is to avoid writing articles as long as possible and be lazy. Maybe even brave an attempt to nap. Maybe I’ll blare music and dance around my house. Maybe I’ll actually work on a project I want to work on or get back to knitting that blanket or finally get back to reading Liz Phair’s memoir “Horror Stories”. Because I can’t help but to link my lack of sanity to my lack of knitting lately. Maybe I need to go back to Michael’s to get that awesome yarn I used to knit my baby nephew’s blanket with so I could make a giant one for me.
It’s okay to admit that you’re struggling, especially this time of year. It’s a time when we should be giving back to those in need, not stressing about getting that toy for your child. It’s the time when you have to mentally prepare for 2 week Christmas breaks and Christmas parties where you stand around feeling awkward all the time. Christmas is rough and the only ones who don’t think so are drinking too much eggnog or oozing an annoyingly high level of Christmas cheer as if they are trying out for Elf. (No hate intended. Just sayin’.) Don’t let others tell you how you should be feeling this time of year. It’s as okay to love Christmas as it is to hate it.