In the Christmas Spirit

I’ve never been one to have the Christmas spirit. I remind readers and my friends of that all of the time. I just don’t dig it. I do have some great friends that knew exactly what to get me: wine. While I haven’t been able to indulge in it as of this writing, I’m sure I will eventually. They didn’t spend a fortune on the presents that they gave me; it was the thought that counted. And I loved the gifts and very grateful for them. I have friends that didn’t give me anything except wishing me health and happiness for the holiday. I have the greatest friends in the world. Knowing that I had their friendship was equally important as the bottles of wine. I don’t need gifts. I need the things that can’t be bought.

The problem with the holiday, and part of the reason why I can’t get into the Christmas spirit, is because of the idea of materialism. It’s all about the stuff. People get mad because you didn’t spend enough on them, equating the love of the gift-giver to how much money they spent on the gift. Equating the cost of something rather than equating one’s love to the thought that was put into the gift. Sometimes I think that people who equate the monetary to the love of another is a selfish person. I feel as though they lost sight of what’s important. It doesn’t matter that my ring is smaller than some people; what matters is the love of my husband. I barely even wear my rings because it’s just stuff. Stuff doesn’t matter. Stuff can be lost or you can outgrow it. It’s harder to lose people or outgrow the person.

I don’t think I’ll ever understand the importance of fancy gifts. My parents always raised me of the belief that it was the thought behind the gifts. I remember one year my parents bought me some of what would be my favorite CDs to this day. They didn’t spend an exceedingly massive amount of money on those gifts. But they were music that I loved and that meant more to me than anything else. My parents raised me to be grateful for whatever we were given, even if it was just a simple card with well-wishes or a hug. It’s those things that matter. Not some expensive object that you may never use.

I made it my mission to not use any credit cards this Christmas. Everything that I bought was with our debit card, even those more expensive gifts the kids got. Why? My husband wants a new car and my oldest will be going to college. So I had a budget and I stuck to it because it wasn’t how much I spent on the gift; I believe that it matters more gift was something that made them smile. That was perfect for them.

There’s always the pressure of outspending people because other people value the monetary value of the gift, rather than the idea of the gift. It makes people anxious. It causes people to go into debt unnecessarily. It’s not important. The gifts aren’t the important thing. It’s the phone call from family, just talking about the holiday because you couldn’t be there with them. It was the waves through the window after they dropped off gifts. It’s the reminder that they are there for you, just to be there for you. That’s what’s important. And it’s sad that so many people forget that.

So be grateful for the gifts that you did or didn’t get, because it doesn’t matter. You won’t remember that so and so bought you this or that for the holiday. But you will remember those memories that you made while eating cinnamon rolls and bacon while watching movies and opening gifts. Or playing a game of Monopoly or playing a game on the new console, watching everyone failing. It’s the laughter and smiles. It’s the togetherness even at a time when we can’t really be together. That’s what the holidays are supposed to be about.

And Tomorrow There Will Be Flowers and Candy and Cards!

This week has a theme: love. Well, I mean relationships in general I suppose. After all, Valentine’s Day requires special consideration. With all the loving mushiness all day long, how could I not let the opportunity pass to mock celebrate such an incredible tradition. I would be doing everyone a disservice letting it pass. Since tomorrow is the big day, I shall dedicate this post to the best time of year: Valentine’s Day. Some parts may need parental guidance for crude language.

Every year, no fail, I make at least 2 jokes about Valentine’s Day being abbreviated to “V-Day”. Both are obviously obscene ways to go with this. One, the “V-Day” stands for “Venereal Day”, because every year someone comes back with a gift that keeps on giving. The other one is to point out the “V” may stand for the fact that mostly only women give a care about this holiday. Why else are the colors mostly pink? Or I suppose a joke about the color red also fits here. Again, I reiterate that I did warn you this would be a little crude. I say them every year because, while as funny as I find it, it seems that it’s true. Last year according to some statistics I read, 11,000 babies were conceived on Valentine’s Day. I’m not brave enough to actually find out how many diseases were actually contracted as well, but I’m sure that number is also up there.

I know, I sound like a bitter person for this. I’m not lonely, in fact I’m very happy in my relationship. One reason we’re so happy is that we don’t need one annual day to show that we care for each other. If you rely on that, your relationship is probably in worse shape than you think. My husband is smart about it, though I don’t particularly care about gifts anyways, and sticks to things like videogames or books or dinner. Flowers are a waste; you spend $50 on flowers that last a week if you’re lucky and I hate chocolate. I tried to find a card to show that I have some sort of romance. The truth is, I don’t and I left empty-handed. I couldn’t stomach the sappy “I love you always” cards, and apparently they don’t make “I love you even when you fart in bed and stink up the room” cards.

My real point is: don’t rely on Valentine’s Day to show you care and if you do, don’t go crazy. You don’t want to raise expectation bars you’re not willing to exceed every year. Sure that $3,000 diamond necklace sounds good today, but 10 years down the line you’re forking over a BMW. The great women want a thought, and the ones that want an expensive showy gift should be the ones you break up with before Valentine’s Day so you don’t have to buy her a gift. I’ll probably get a card from my boys and big loving hugs, and that’s perfectly OK with me. I don’t need anything but to spend the day with them anyways.