the presence of presents
the presence of presents
Two more days until Christmas This can not come a moment too soon. My house looks like a cross between Santa's workshop and a garbage dump. Wrapping paper scraps and empty boxes lie strewn across the floor of every room. Presents are piled high, some wrapped, most not, and at last count there 224 presents in all. 224. When the hell did Christmas become all about the gifts? Oh wait, it always was. It just becomes more evident every year. I fully echo Jon's sentiments about Christmas being all about the commercialization, and not deluding ourselves into thinking otherwise. Giving, getting, eating, decorating, getting, giving. That is Christmas.
For an atheist like myself, there is no other side to it. But because I have children who are being raised catholic, and because my entire family - about 6,000 people including cousins - are catholics, there is that other side to Christmas. The happy birthday, Jesus side. And you know what? Even the most ultra religious of my relatives never once mentions the whole nativity thing during the course of our Christmas Eve festivities or Christmas day dinner. It's about the gifts. And Santa. And Mr.Hanky, the Christmas poo.
In the lean years (read: the years I was married), money was scarce and times were tight and Christmas was an exercise in humility. While people piled gifts under our tree and were incredibly generous, I was always embarassed because I would either have not nearly as much for them, or I would be borrowing money from my parents in order to give gifts to...my parents. Nice, huh?
In the years following my divorce, each subsequent Christmas has increased in terms of money in my wallet and gifts under the tree. I am financially better off now than I ever have been (that's not to say I am independenlty wealthy or anything, I still basically live check-to-check, but I am better off), and I suppose I am proving something to myself and to my kids and to my family by my chronic overspending. Guess what? I don't care. I don't care what psychological reasons there are behind my gift buying sprees every December. I love giving. I love buying presents. I love seeing the expressions of joy on someone's face when I give them something they really appreciate. I love buying things for people that have done so much for me throughout the year, knowing full well that a couple of DVD and some video games are much more appreciated than a heart-felt thank you note. We are all consumers, we are all greedy, we all want material possessions. Let's just go with it instead of being in denial, ok?
So I will say, rather than saying that the greatest gift of all is love and I am thankful just to be loved by Justin, that he gave me a great Christmas already, and there's still two days to go. Last month, because I begged for it early, he gave me a camera. Yesterday, he supplied that camera with a zoom lens that I was wishing for. That's not all. After six hours spent shopping, I came home with extra goodies: a Fight Club lunch box, a bobbing head Jack Skellington, Sponge Bob Square Pants Uno, and the import edition of Radiohead's Amnesiac, which comes with a nifty book. And oh! I almost forgot! I got a Buddy Christ! He is currently taking up residence on top of my monitor, and hopefully will insult and horrify the sister's born-again catholic appendage when he stops over today. Despite all my whining about the stress of Christmas time, I love this time of year. Giving, getting and rocking the suburbs with my new sub-woofer.
One last thought on gift-giving and getting. It's two days before Christmas, and a Sunday, which means no mail or deliveries today. As my wishlist remains untouched, it looks highly unlikely that I will be receiving anything from my Secret Santa. Which really sucks because that is not something you join for altruistic reasons. It's not like a toys for tots thing where you give to someone out of the goodness of your heart and expect nothing in return. The whole point of it was giving and getting. I know I sent my secret santa something within 24 hours of receiving her name, and she was pretty damn happy and thankful and yes, it made me feel all joyous and Christmas-like. But whoever happened to be my secret santa (and it is not the same person I gave to, I don't know who it is. Maybe it was YOU!), did not find it necessary to see that I got something in time for Christmas. Bah, humbug! Here's to coal in your stocking, whoever you are.
So now I must finish that most dreadful task of all. Wrapping. I'll pay you if you come over and wrap the remaining 200 presents. And serve you margaritas while you do it. Anyone?