Christmas isn't what it used to be. Well, that's not quite true. I grew up in a family where no expense was spared to ensure that a slew of presents was strewn in front of the lavishly decorated tree. Layaway and Christmas Club savings accounts were the norm. And having new pajamas to wear in the Christmas morning pictures was just as important as the gifts themselves. So as I parent, why should I expect any different?
My first few Christmases as a parent, I also spared no expense. I clearly remember purchasing and meticulously wrapping, at least 25 gifts for my then one year old. However, the past few years, I haven't been as involved. My guess is it would have to be due to the fact that my mother still spares no expense, often shipping multiple boxes of pre-wrapped gifts to my children. It may also be the fact that the kids tend to only play with their baubles during the week after Christmas and then selectively through the year, instead being drawn to the lights of technological advances. Thus, I leave the hustle and bustle of toy shopping to my mother. Yet and still, the closer December comes each year, the more anxiety I experience regarding gifts.
I don't have any desire to purchase gifts, just because that is the expectation.
The more I grow, the more I respect the true reason for the season. Regardless of your religious beliefs, I think we can all agree that the time spent with family is much more important than breaking the bank. In light of the recent tragedy in Connecticut, I'm choosing to take this holiday season to express my gratitude for my family. The fact that my daughter is able to give me a kiss, no matter how wet, matters more than the ring she bought me (which broke when I put it on). Watching my son perform cartwheels and my nephews have a dance-off is priceless. Being able to Skype my grandmother and make sweet potato pies with my daughter...those are what make my Christmas memorable.
So, I say Bah Humbug. Not to the celebration of Jesus' birth, but to the commercialization of Christmas. To the worshiping of Santa (to whom I refuse to give credit when I work everyday to supply the limited gifts I buy). To the opening of stores on Thanksgiving, to the daily sale emails, to the endless commercials, and the blasted toy shopping guides.
In the next breath, I say thank you Jesus. For my family. For my friends. For my job and co-workers. For my home, food to eat, and clothes to wear. I give thanks to Jesus for the brave teachers who laid down their lives to spare others. For the men and women in the armed services who fight senseless wars. For each morning that I arise, given another chance to be a better person. For each night that I lay down to sleep, safe in my home with my loved ones. So as another Christmas comes to a close, my hope is that each of you has taken a moment to tell everyone how much you love them. That you hold each other tight, thankful that you still have each other to hold. That you don't take for granted to joy of life and live each day to the fullest. That is the Merry Christmas I wish to you!
The Lipgloss Junkie