Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Faking it 'til I make it: Holiday edition

I'm feeling a bit bah-humbuggy about Christmas. I'm mourning the loss of the Christmases of my childhood, when my family gave gifts large and small that said all sorts of things about us (not the least of which was "you need new socks & underwear") but where the primary message was, "I know you enough to know how much you'll enjoy this..."

I'm not sure I know anybody that well anymore, which seems like a huge loss.

Certainly, ideas for gifts have crossed my mind. But I've lost my confidence. Perhaps it's because Steve and I moved twice in the span of four months this year, which made me aware of every item I own and what it feels like to haul them up and down several flights of stairs. Or maybe it's the ongoing refrain that's so prevelent now, where we all lament the accumulation of stuff in our lives and how hard it is to control, manage, or organize. Whatever the source, I'm left with this awful fear: if I buy you a gift, and it's not something you really, really like, haven't I just burdened you with more stuff?

I'm pretty sure that's not the spirit of the season, no matter where you fall on the Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanza continuum. So I'm fighting back. Today, I will listen to Christmas carols. I will contemplate where our decorations might fit in this new apartment and not worry that my efforts won't be worthy of the Good Housekeeping seal of approval. And most importantly (and this is the promise I'm most determined to keep) I will buy someone a present and take the risk of "burdening" them with more stuff, trusting that the idea that I was thinking of them today as I wandered around out in the world will mean something.

How are you feeling about the holidays this year?


Quinn said...

This year we don't really have the money to buy presents for everyone, and I'm burdened with the: will they like my cheesy home-made card or wish I sent a meat and cheese multi-pack?Commercialism has put a damper on home-made craftiness. But, I can be optimistic about their hearts and hope for the best!

Erica said...

It's not about the stuff...giving it or not giving it. In fact, I've unintentionally burdened people with non-gifts like charity donations and hand-made stuff (donations can make folks feel guilty for not being more philanthropic and and hand-made gifts can awaken the inner I-should-be-more-craftsy demon). Besides, I *know* I've flipped over some 'perfect' gifts only to hand them to Goodwill a few years later. Growing, accumulating, pruning, purging...it's just a part of life. As long as you don't go nuts and buy said gift in every color, I wouldn't sweat about burdening anyone. Your intentions will be received and that moment of intimacy is what I'm convinced we're all after with gift giving anyway.
My two cents. Carol, gift, and be merry, my friend! ::hug::

Sarakastic said...

This is my first Christmas without roommates. I find myself not wanting to decorate because I know I'll just have to store all that "stuff" for the rest of the year. Then it just seems wrong not to.

Trish Ryan said...

Happy to report that I PURCHASED A PRESENT! :) No lights have been strung yet, but it's a start.

LEstes65 said...

Right now, I'm using up the last of my severance money. So, it's the last of my savings. After January, if I don't have a job, I will have to start cashing in my retirement - which I do NOT want to do. So I am very tight fisted this Christmas. Initially, this upset me. I'm a huge fan of spoiling my kids at Christmas. I love having the huge "must have" item sitting by the fireplace. I love getting them 72 of whatever they currently love. But being forced to scale back has made me and both of my boys start thinking about what Christmas is really about. It sounds cliche and like a bad network holiday special. But I'm actually loving it. And if you could see my house, you'd know that none of us needs more STUFF. This has been on my mind as I've pondered the possibility of losing my house and having to cram everything into a tiny apartment again. Hope my perspective helps undo the bah.