As most of my dear readers know, I am a Grinch this time of year. I have long chronicled my distaste for the commercialization of Christmas. That, combined with the unfortunate coincidence of the loss of several family members around this time of year, dampens my enthusiasm. I really feel the pressure to gift something that will be both appreciated and useful. I feel, and hope, that I adequately show my appreciation for everything I receive; but I struggle coming up with something of equal or greater value (not just in dollars) in return. I also am part of a family that has gift giving down to a science. The women of my family, like my mother niece, daughter and sister, seem to come up with the most thoughtful and useful gifts. Don't think I'm crying in my beer or that I'm on my pity pot. I think I have made progress and am somewhat at peace with the whole process. Now I endeavor to give gifts that are useful, thought out and (hopefully) appreciated. For the last few Christmas seasons I have adopted the Hanukkah tradition of gifting throughout the season. No one knows when or what may come along and nothing is expected in return. Finally; and here's a hint, we thoroughly enjoy the gift cards we receive. You really find out what you know about a person when you're trying to figure out what store or restaurant someone frequents. Perhaps the innumerable unused cards are an indication of this.
The advent of winter and the holidays usually casts a pall on my mood, especially having to work and live in the Texas pucker brush. As I said previously, I think I'm making progress. I decorated the truck grill and actively participated in the decoration of the RV and surrounding fence and pad.
What Christmas means to me is an amalgamation of all the traditions of the past and fitting them into something I can both tolerate and enjoy. Christmas has evolved into a commercially driven monster and I find myself longing for those days when it was much simpler. We used to always get pajamas around Christmas time. You know, the ones with feet on them. Mystery and hope ruled the day as my sister and I waged war with my Mother, trying to figure out where our presents were stashed and what could possibly be hidden in the wrapper. We'd get up at the crack of dawn on Christmas day and putter around under the tree, looking for and sorting out the presents. When we couldn't stand it any longer we would finally wake our parents. It is odd that, as much as I protested then, I now enjoy going to Christmas candlelight services. Whatever your beliefs, Christmas is still the time that we celebrate the birth of Christ. It is also the time of year when many other faiths celebrate, such as Hanukkah, or the Festival of Lights. Whatever your belief(s) I hope you use the time to reflect and maybe forget all the commercialization and hub bub. Here's hoping you and yours have a wonderful and happy Christmas!