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Season's Greedings

So, let me see if I have this right. We now have Black Friday, Green Monday (and for me personally) Woeful Wallet Wednesday. How about you? I’m hoping there is no Thinking of Thievery Thursday, or I’m definitely in trouble!

Every year I talk about how commercial our holidays have become, but for some reason I continue to participate. There are moments when even I seem to want it bigger, better, flashier and more jaw dropping – or I don’t want it at all. I mean, really, why shouldn’t every five-year-old have a robotic dinosaur?

And why wouldn’t I want to shower those I love with gifts? I have sisters and brothers. I have grown children. I have aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews, friends, dogs – okay, I’ll admit it – even birds. If I buy for one, how can I neglect another? (To date, I don’t think the birds and dogs have compared notes, but I have noticed them whispering, so my days may be numbered!)

Each morning when I venture into my emails I am bombarded with special deals. One site offers me 40% off. Another promises buy one, get one free. Not to be outdone, yet another touts a sale on (are you ready?) their sale items. Have they gone mad? Is there no end? What is this world coming to? Can I save money I don’t even have? Perhaps an even better question would be, do I actually get any email from people I know?

Although I’m thoroughly convinced this present day “presents day” is not my cup of tea, I haven’t come up with any alternative that eliminates the extensive spending associated with the season, and actually sounds like something I’d pursue if given the opportunity.

Simpler Times

Do you remember a time when the holidays seemed simpler? Less commercial? While I’ve been pondering this topic I had a moment where I literally felt transported through time and space back to my childhood. With five of us asking Santa for some new and cherished possession, I’m sure my parents were hard pressed to figure out how they could make our eyes light up on Christmas morning when we saw what was under the tree.

I distinctly recall trying to figure out where the gifts were stashed (this, of course occurred after I’d figured out who Santa Claus really was!) One year I actually found our gifts hidden in a closet in the basement. What I remember most about that year was trying to act surprised when I opened my presents. The other thing I remember was how disappointing it was to know what was in the gift wrapped box before opening it.

Another memory that is firmly planted in my mind, and that was on prominent display each and every holiday, is the love and laughter that were always a part of the mix (if someone wasn’t crying because I ate his or her holiday candy!)

We strung popcorn and cranberry garlands. We baked cookies and pies. We wrapped gifts and listened to festive music. And as I got older, I became my father’s go to person for wrapping my mother’s gifts. Although this was a very high honor, my dad apparently had no idea what boxes were for. Every year he would hand me a sack filled with whatever items he’d selected for Momma, and it was my challenge to try to figure out how to wrap them.

As an adult, I look back on this task and have to smile, because every year (and I mean every year) one of her gifts would be some version of baby doll pajamas. They were always a delightful combination of sheer, gauzy material highlighted with satin, bows and lace. My mother is 5’11” so I’m still hard pressed to imagine her in this getup. Although I have to admit, my father must have been on to something, because as I mentioned, back in those days there were five of us (eventually six) anticipating any number of holiday goodies. I suppose you could say the negligees were the gift that kept on giving.

Which brings me back to giving. This year I’m determined that regardless of the recipient, I’m taking the greed out of the giving. My holiday gift will involve actually giving something of real value when I am lucky enough to be with my friends and family: my love, my support, my undivided attention and something we never seem to have enough of – some good cheer. None of those cost a thing, but in my opinion they are priceless. And they don’t even need to be wrapped!