Photo courtesy of http://www.praisechapel.org
The holidays seem to have come too fast this year. This past year has flown by and I seem to feel even less festive after the tragic events of Sandy Hook Elementary. However, there is a common theme that annoys me about this time of year. I hate to see people stressing over presents and I hate how chaotic this time of year becomes. Last night, after doing some last minute shopping of our own, my husband and I were told by the cashier at the store that a man had yelled at him the night before for not having the blue teenage mutant ninja turtle. The irate man claimed to have gone to seven different stores to no avail. Umm, seems to me like your child was simply not meant to have the dumbass toy to begin with. How does the saying go, “your lack of planning does not constitute my emergency”; this is very applicable in this instance. I found that exchange to be completely pointless.
We lost the true meaning of the holiday spirit years ago, so I am really not all that surprised when I hear things like this. I personally like to do my Christmas shopping at the last minute because I love the late night excursions with my husband to take advantage of the extended hours and sales right before the holiday. For us, it has become a tradition that we enjoy as it provides us with some great quality time all while shopping to spoil our little ones, friends and extended family. At the same time, even though we know we are able to go all out and really buy for the kids to our heart’s content, we choose to set a budget and stick with it. The kids know full well they are not going to get everything they ask for and we pick out presents we know are going to be really utilized and not just tossed aside the day after Christmas. For us, it is all about the quality and not quantity of the gifts. We want them to value what we give them and we never want them to forget to be humble at this time of the year because there are too many that are not as fortunate.
Even if you do not believe in God, or celebrate Christmas, I believe the purpose of this time of year is to spend time with and treasure those you love. I personally do not want someone running around for my present at the last minute as it takes the thought out of it. I would rather you take the time to have a nice chat with me, where we listen to one another and actually just have a conversation. I am not talking about those one sided conversations where one monopolizes the whole exchange, but one of mutual benefit. Or how about we just go have a cup of coffee or see a movie together. We have friends we hardly see or talk to throughout the year, yet they send us gifts every year without fail. I would much rather we get together more often as that would mean so much more to me.
My husband and I both come from families where we were always supposed to make a list of things we wanted and it even became where the gifts had to be over a certain amount. If your present was not up to par, then believe you me, the facial expresses of distaste were enough to make you cringe and feel ashamed. I found myself pulling away from these activities because it took the joy out of the celebration for me. One year, I was complaining to my cousin via text and he responded ‘bah humbug’ to me with an ‘lol”. I thought about it and he was right, it was really a sore point for me and since there is no talking to my headstrong family without an overblown argument occurring, I just made it clear that I would begin to set my own Christmas traditions; traditions that more accurately reflect the values the hubby and I want established within our family. I don’t need you to dictate to me what I should buy for you because as someone who loves and cares for you, I should know your likes and dislikes and be able to give you something accordingly and allow it to be something I want you to have. Needless to say, I am once again the black sheep of the family but so be it.
My husband and I give to our children all throughout the year. I never wanted my children to see Christmas as a day to cash in. I make sure that we give to those who cannot afford to do the things we do all throughout the year. In response to the man searching for the specific ninja turtle, how about you either plan ahead or find the toy at a later time to give to your child if you just really want them to have it. Does it not show the child the importance of delayed gratification? In life, we are not always going to get things when we want, every time we want it. This time of year needs to return to its roots and stop with all this materialism. I believe everyone should stay in their lane, not go overboard, set a budget and stick with it. We need to stop all the chaos that surrounds the holiday season and we need to focus on peace, relaxation and enjoying our time off.
I wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! May 2013 be your best year yet.
~ Mara Prose