Just about all blog posts I read at the moment are themed around Christmas and this one is no different. In short, I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas.
My main hate bit is the hype surrounding christmas and the associated commercialism. Here, the christmas decorations are put out in the shops in early October from memory. Every year people comment about how the decorations are available already and that it’s too early.
Partly, Christmas for me means I buy presents for people because it’s expected of me. I like to give gifts but I don’t like to buy gifts just because it’s Christmas and I feel I should. And it’s really painful going shopping when everyone else is out there doing it. I’m not organised enough to have it all done before the madness starts either.
It gets harder and harder to buy for my parents every year as they have every material thing they need. Ronni over at Time Goes By recently wrote an article about gift giving for elders. I’ll have to try and remember this for next year and consult with my sisters because I’m sure they have the same problem. I’ve resorted to alcohol for them this year and a photo of JJ I took, printed and put in a frame.
Christmas for me nowadays is more about my son than about me. It doesn’t bother me so much about receiving presents for myself or not, but looking at the joy JJ has when he opens his presents. I don’t go overboard on him and spend thousands or even hundreds. Some years I do spend more than others though depending on what I decide to get. He’s looking forward to Christmas and we’re marking the calendar with crosses until 25 December and I remember the anticipation as a kid was excruciating.
I’ve put up the tree, there are some presents underneath and a stocking hanging near the fireplace. The stocking will have to come with us as we won’t actually be home for christmas day so hopefully I’ll remember that.
As I said he’s looking forward to Christmas but then he’s also looking beyond that to the next time when he’ll get stuff at easter. And that’s what I hate about these holidays, the expectation. I alluded to it earlier about being expected to buy gifts for people. I try not to get my Christmas gift recipient list get too long. I used to buy for a couple of friends and we’ve mutually agreed to put a stop to that as it can get out of hand.
Last week JJ and I bought a gift for a boy about his age and put it under the Kmart wishing tree for charity. We shopped together and chose a present for someone who isn’t as lucky as him so they have something to open on Christmas day. He was really great about it but I don’t know how much it sunk in about who might end up with it. I’d like to make this our yearly tradition.
The Christmas card thing gets me though. I send off some cards to people overseas who I have very intermittent contact with and it’s a way of maintaining those contacts. I also send some to people within Australia I don’t see that often for the same reasons. I do not, however, give a card to all my colleagues and friends I see all the time because I think it’s ridiculous. I do feel a little guilty when I get one and I know that I won’t be giving one in return. Is it expected? Do these people feel put out when I don’t send them one? Too bad, because I’m not going to start doing it. JJ got given cards from his school mates. I didn’t go down that path either as it would have been something extra I had to do. When he can write, and when and if he wants to do it, that’s when it will happen. It’s in his hands.
I’m lucky in that I have family to hang out with at Christmas time but that’s fraught with family politics as I’m sure lots of families are. If I didn’t have family I guess it would be really hard and if I knew a Christmas orphan I’d love to include them in what I do. So while my family are all still around I try and make the most of it because I know I’d miss it like mad if it changed.
So Christmas looms every closer. I still have some presents to wrap, food to buy to contribute to the various places I’ll be visiting during that period. That brings me to one thing I do love about Christmas, and that’s holidays. I get to have just over a week off – yee hah!