Holiday Hubbub

You know, if Christmas were just about trees, lights, ribbons and bows, decorations and yummy smells, I would love it a whole lot more.

Instead, all this shit about figuring out what people want, buying presents, wrapping presents, and schlepping them to various parties and family celebrations ruins it all.

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting presents. LOVE IT. Wrap a $100 gift card for Best Buy or Gap in a tiny box and see how much I love you.

But does it make me a selfish bastard that I despise the whole process of buying and wrapping presents for others– especially when it’s like pulling teeth to figure out what the hell people WANT?

Take my mom for instance. You know I love her. I’ve gone on and on about how wonderful she is, and she deserves every good thing in life. But the woman will absolutely not divulge any information about gifts, no matter how hard you try or how much you goad her. She insists she “has everything she needs” and “doesn’t want anything… maybe some dish towels or soap on a rope.” (I’m kidding about the soap on a rope… but still.)

And my dad, who, as I have explained, never leaves the house, wants nothing more than cologne– or as he calls it, “smelly stuff.”

That’s right folks, my dad loves his “smelly stuff” so much that he needs a different bottle for each day of the week, just so he can sit in his chair and watch movies all day. I really don’t know who smells his smelly stuff on him other THAN him, but that’s what makes him happy, so that’s what we get for him. And when he runs low, he panics. We don’t even have to ask him what he wants anymore. “What does dad want? More “smelly stuff!”

My sister and her husband decided to take their vacation over Christmas this year– much to the chagrin of my aunt, who is hosting our annual family Christmas Eve gathering. To be fair, they have good reasons for going– one is because my brother-in-law is a teacher and this is the only time they have for a vacation other than summer, and the other is because my sister was recently diagnosed with Celiac Disease, which means her body is not able to process gluten-based products, such as pasta, bread, cake, cookies. And what is Christmas about other than breads, cake and cookies (and pasta in my family)? I think the pressure to eat those things would have been to great for her. She was only diagnosed a few months ago, so she is still adjusting. I can’t blame her for that. We’re going to exchange gifts with them on my Dad’s birthday in January instead.

So it’s going to be a weird Christmas, and it seems like the family is avoiding it as much as they can. I just started shopping last night because I finally was able to get an idea of what people wanted last night. It’s just not worth the headache anymore. I love ripping open wrapped boxes as much as the next person, but frankly, if we could reduce Christmas gifts to the exchange of cards and gift cards (or cash), I’d be perfectly happy.

Besides, when it comes right down to it, isn’t being with family and loving and appreciating them more important than all that commercial crap?

For the first time in my life, I really think it is.

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