Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Where are you Christmas?

Where are you Christmas? Why can't I find you?

This thought has plagued me for weeks now. Where is Christmas? Where is the excitement that I found as a child? Where is the excitement I found a few years ago? Am I really getting so old that, as my grandfather used to say "It's just another day"? Where are you Christmas? Is it because I didn't put up any Christmas decorations? Why can't I find you?

I think that it is perhaps a combination of a lot of things. Christmas, as well as most other holidays, is actually a stress filled few days. We have 3 families to juggle, and this year there will actually be 4 "Christmas" days. I guess the older I get the more Scrooge like I am becoming. I'm not anti-Christmas just anti-presents. Yes, even the receiving of presents.

It seems like each year the shopping for gifts for our family is less fun and more demanding. Suddenly we are "required" to get gifts for people who are family, but we hardly see and really aren't close too. So it becomes a chore and a headache to find them something. We combined a gift for our niece, and 2 nephews this year. I'm sure that my in-laws as well as the children will be less than thrilled, but what do you buy for children you see twice a year? What do you buy for adults whom you haven't been to there home in 5 years? And if they don't want the present then my husband and I will gladly take it as we both love board games! I even no longer feel that the things that I make are gift worthy after comments made over different handmade gifts. The best one was probably the comment that came with the fake smile about how great it was - and where did I buy it so that they could exchange it for different colors. My personal favorite was the comment that said they didn't realize that we were having financial problems and couldn't afford to buy them something nice. So after this year - no more handmade gifts, except to my mother and my 9 year old niece. Because they both understand the time that went into them. Of course I said that last year too, and my in-laws, whom I hoping aren't reading this, are both getting a handmade something this year. I'll post pictures later. Just in case.

This post is becoming more rant like as I type.

Where are you Christmas? Why can't I find you?

In my perfect world, I would love to only exchange gifts with children. Why? Because most often they are the only ones who haven't "learned" how to react and show real emotions at their gifts. Give a kid a sweater and a Zhu Zhu pet and see the difference. It's priceless, and it is honesty at it's best. Plus they don't re gift or return gifts. It's always perfect. Yes, even the sweater.

As an adult we have been taught to show how fabulous each present is, even when we hate it. I'll admit that I have re gifted, and returned my fair share of things. Most of those gifts have come from people who were family, co-workers, friends and even strangers at Christmas parties. They have just been looking for a "gift", not for something that I would necessarily want. I have family members who are not, and this year, for the first time in my life, I have bought 5 gift cards and gave cash to another just because of the simple fact that they are hard to buy for, and my heart wasn't into it. I try to take the time to find the "perfect" gift, and it's becoming a chore, especially since no one else seems to really care anymore.

Where are you Christmas? Why can't I find you?

I know that at the end of the song - Christmas is found. This year? Probably not at our house. We have the true meaning of Christmas in our hearts year round. Which is celebrating the birth of a savior.

So maybe we have found Christmas after all. Maybe we never really lost it.

And as for next year - we are doing something different with the whole gift giving. We aren't. We are going from 30 people - yes, that is just immediate family and two of our close friends to 6. Instead, we are going to take the money we would have spent on the other 24 people and give it to a charity who provides Christmas to children who otherwise wouldn't have one. Giving wonder, hope, faith, and love to a child and helping mom and dad find Christmas. Isn't that what it's supposed to be about anyway? Besides, I'll save our family valuable time - they won't have to stand in the return line the day after Christmas.

I'm keeping things simple this year - no excessive baking - no fancy Christmas day dinner. I'm making a cheesecake Christmas eve or Christmas Day. We are having steaks, patrician potatoes, salad, rolls, and green beans for dinner. We are going to have grilled cheese sandwiches and soup for lunch. And stuffed french toast for breakfast, mostly because I want to make it. :) I'm going to spend Saturday with my parents, stepsister and her family and my best friend since like the 1st grade. Just hanging out, and laughing and catching up with her, because I don't see her as often as I would like too. And a trip to the in-laws because my husband won't be here for Christmas with his brother. Otherwise, I'm going to enjoy my days off from school, cross stitch, hopefully finish a border on an afghan that I'm finishing that my grandmother had started before she died. Maybe - just maybe - we can find Christmas. Maybe the rest of our family can too.

"Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. 'What if Christmas,' he thought, 'doesn't come from a store? What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more?'" ~Dr. Seuss

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