I haven’t been a fan of the Christmas season for a while. It’s not that I don’t like the holiday, I’m just not into the build up and required preparations. I don’t find them fun…
Get and decorate a tree, decorate the outside and inside of the house, bake cookies, create and mail cards, buy and wrap gifts, create and prepare two major feasts in a 24 hour period, buy a nice outfit to wear to the Christmas party you were invited to, bring a side dish to said party, attend work holiday functions, participate in a secret Santa, come up with something nice but not too over-the-top to give to all of the neighbors, give an extra tip gift to anyone that provides an ongoing service (hair dresser, nail tech, door man) along with gifts of appreciation (teachers, school bus drivers, coaches). And oh yea – pay for everything listed above as well.
I gave up Christmas cards a few years ago. I used to enjoy seeing how a friend’s kids have grown or hearing about their life in a yearly update letter, but with Facebook and email, I have access to this information all year round.
I don’t like to shop, so I write checks or give gift cards. Let me be clear. I’ve got no problem putting in the mall time necessary to buy a nice gift for a loved one. Nothing would thrill me more than to buy a gift that someone really wants. I just refuse to walk aimlessly around Brookstone guessing at what to buy someone who doesn’t actually need anything. Take my father for instance. His wish list includes a new rotator cuff and a trip to Cossino, Italy. The guy doesn’t need a foot massager or a clock radio that beams the digital time on his bedroom ceiling.
When I was a kid, Christmas was the time of year that I finally got something I needed like a pair of jeans or a curling iron. My kids don’t wait until Christmas to finally get an album from their favorite artist. In 1986 the cassette tape I had to buy to get the song I wanted to play cost $18! Now it only costs my daughters 99 cents to download the latest hit from the radio. No one waits until December 25th to do that.
Most people buy the small stuff they want – it’s the big, expensive, you-really-need-to-pick-that-out-yourself-type things that folks need. So in case you’re wondering, I need wall-to-wall carpeting for the second floor of my house not a candle from Bath and Body Works.
The problem is that I can’t figure out if I’m a genius or a lazy ass. The other problem is that since the year 2000, with the exception of one holiday, I’ve had to travel to another state every Christmas. When you’re not in your own home it’s much easier to let things slide. You find yourself buying gifts based on whether or not they can fit inside your trunk and can be easily transported. You don’t decorate your house because, no family will be coming over on Christmas day to actually see it. Because you don’t have access to a kitchen, you don’t bring a dish for the family function as you’re only in the way of the hostess and her preparations. Because you don’t have access to your house, you can’t host a party. Because you’re taking up space in someone else’s space, its easier to defer to their vision and expectations. Before you know it, a decade has gone by and the only holiday tradition you’ve created is stopping at the Hillcrest Drive BP station outside of Cumberland, MD for their homemade pepperoni rolls.
Maybe I’m not a lazy ass. Maybe I’m just a victim of circumstance. I’m still not sending out Christmas cards, but I will try to enjoy the season a little bit more. The following commercial always got me in the mood back when I was younger. Here’s to all of us getting a lift this Christmas.