Post # 259
We are beginning the Christmas decorating activities. It always a time for reflection.
In my youth, our Christmas festivities, included the family gathering at my parents house. There were nine of us, gifts for all. We did a rotational thing, Thanksgiving at my grandparents, (mom’s parents) and Easter at my aunt’s, (mom’s sister).
The Christmas gathering included a big meal on Christmas Eve, opening presents and attending the evening service, my mother was the church organist and my grandparents were choir members. There were lots of gifts, lots of gifts, lots of gifts. It was post WWII, in the 50’s as affluence was abounding, and it was the beginning of having an interest in gifts lasting for two days, ok, maybe one. As I look back now, I seem to see the country moving from religious understanding into holiday marketing. Major stores mailed voluminous Christmas catalogues to every household.
Years later, married with a young family our gift purchasing requirements nearly tripled.
The FIRST trouble with Christmas; was keeping up with the rest of family’s purchasing power. We were able to maintain the competitive level, by paying on the charge cards until April. Some years down the time-line road, we threw up our hands, and with my father’s help, changed our gift giving practices, from everyone gifts to drawing name gifts.
My children are having difficulty with me, today. I know, it must be hard to believe. I am so easy-going. It’s Christmas time again, and they are expecting gift ideas from me. This is so difficult. There’s nothing I need, if I need a tool or something I just go buy it. Ok, life is short, I can’t always wait to see if someone is going to choose to purchase that one needed item from my list for my gift. Then again, if I can’t afford it, I don’t buy it. And, if I can’t afford it, then they shouldn’t buy it either. Also there shouldn’t be any subliminal competition between my children; I don’t want any of them thinking they were out done by the other. I don’t want them trying to “keep up” with each other. The second trouble with Christmas. Honor your father and mother, we believe is accentuated by getting them something really, really good at Christmas. I had the same problem with my parents. You want to give them something nice to open, but what’s left to get for them? You tend to feel guilty, guilty that after all these years, all that love and help that you’ve received that it must be returned in some fabulous gifts.
My last trouble. You should have caught on by now, that the Trouble isn’t with Christmas, it’s with me! I was grabbed by that great big, Sears, Penny’s, Ward’s Christmas catalogue and spent weeks circling every picture. I shoved the story of Christmas back, back into that one hour or so at church on Christmas Eve. That same marketing strategy carried into family competitive gift buying and to guilt for not buying enough for parents.
What’s on my gift list this year? Having my; not seen too often, busily raising their kids, and living their lives, children, around me looking at the tree, contemplating that one single birth that connects us all. That’s no trouble at all.