As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m starting to get the usual texts from family asking for a Christmas list for presents. I really hoped I wouldn’t. Last year I was able to convince my family not to do gifts because I honestly don’t see the point of it anymore. We are all older, no one needs anything, nor can anyone come up with anything they want. When any of us want anything at this point, we just go get it. That’s adulthood. And frankly, I’m sick of opening boxes of gift cards. All I wanted was to spend time with my family and not have the stress and pressure of buying a ton of gifts that people don’t really need. It was ruining the point and purpose of the holiday and stripping it of all the fun. So last year everyone agreed to it and it was one of my favorite Christmases to date. Unfortunately, it appears it won’t be becoming a tradition.
My favorite parts of Christmas have never had anything to do with presents. It’s the lights, the music, the movies, and just the overall spirit and magic that hangs in the air. On Christmas Eve my mom and I have a small dinner and watch White Christmas and any other Christmas movie that sounds good, but that one is an absolute must. In the morning, we have breakfast together- our traditional Christmas Tree Bread and coffee to start the day. We spend time together just the two of us while preparing for Christmas dinner until the family arrives. We sit around and laugh together until it’s time to start opening presents. That’s usually when I drop off the fun train and I don’t hop back on until dinner when it’s just family time again. I had hoped that once my family experienced a day just for the family that they would want to make it a tradition. I was wrong.
We have one member of the family who doesn’t believe it’s really Christmas if there aren’t presents (I’m not even going to put here what I really think about that) so this year gifts are back on the agenda. Well, not for me.
I just can’t do it.
I let them all know that I will not be participating in the gift portion of the day this year. I’m not buying anyone anything and I don’t want them buying anything for me. I’d rather they take the money they would have spent on me to get themselves groceries or whatever else they may need, but would never ask for as a Christmas present. Having my family there is enough. Needless to say, I’ve upset Miss Greedy-pants who quickly went down a drama-spiral implying Christmas was ruined once again because of me. Somehow, my decision was taken as being a statement for everyone which is not the case. They can all do whatever they want. My lack of participation has zero effect on anyone other than being one less expense and source of financial pressure for my family. But it does allow me to stay true to myself and what I believe this day should really be about. I never imagined this would be such a big deal and to be honest, I’m really bothered by all of this.
Why can’t we just be together and that be enough?
Don’t get me wrong, I love buying gifts for people, but not the way it has become. Everyone providing a list so they already know what they are going to get. For me, it’s been years of opening gift card after gift card because I don’t need anything. I don’t want more stuff that sits around my home or that I have to move. I don’t want to have to tell people what to buy me. That’s absurd. Do people really find that fun?
Why can’t Christmas just be a time for family? The way it was intended. And why does wanting that make me the bad guy?
It hurts, but I’ll be the bad guy if I have to be. At least what I’m doing feels right to me and at the end of the day I think that’s more important. I’m going to enjoy the time with my mom and the family dinner as I always do, and I’ll find somewhere to be during the gift exchange this year.
Until then, I’m going to take one holiday at a time and spend my Thanksgiving remembering how special this life is and all the gifts I’ve been given that money could never have provided me. I’m going to walk down memory lane and bask in all the cool adventures I’ve had the opportunity to experience. And I’m going to live in an attitude of gratitude, giving thanks for all things- including having the courage to be the bad guy.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving everyone!