First off, I’m not here to change other’s minds, only expound my own. I’ll leave the reader to decide his or her own path.
Having been raised in the catholic faith, I am sure I have christmas stamped deep in my marrow. And all the trimmings that come with it. To hear refrains of Oh Holy Night and I am instantly transported emotionally to so many moments in my youth! Specifically to Sister Aquinas’ grade four classroom where she, throughout the season and for any subject would make us all sing a variety of hymns and carols. It was here I found my musicality, fell in love with those many carols and singing.
There are many fond childhood memories as well. Of getting the house and tree decorated, anticipation of my father returning home with his hands full of presents. Then on the morning, waking up early of course, family around, well when they were anyway. Being a distantly last child in a family of eight I was basically an only child with many mothers and fathers. So yes I was spoilt no end by everyone and with oh so much guilt specifically by my separated parents and further distant siblings.
Yes indeed I do love this time of year and the underlying positive mood that seems to permeate everyone and everything. I still love a well-sung carol too. You know the one sung by Andrea Bocelli or even Mariah Carey… put it on and I tear up! How emotionally entrenched are all those feelings with all those songs!
There indeed is so much to say about the good of this season. The giving, people opening their hearts and wallets to the needy, wonderful. However, I come to the part of this season I’ve decided to let go of: the receiving part.
I tell everyone I know to not send me or give me any gifts and, I don’t buy or give presents. Yes, I still do receive the occasional gift and I always say it is up to them to give but I always add that I will not reciprocate. I’ve gotten many looks and harsh words about being cheep, being a Scrooge, etc. And, I choose not to feel guilt about it either.
A few years ago I decided that Christmas for me will never be about what it’s become: commercialised. I refuse being caught up in this shadowy side of it and I hope I never will. Man… if I had kids they would not care for me much. But to me this season is not just about the faith or the getting/receiving, to me it is about love, hope for a new year, being with family. Period.
I can’t help but feel sad when I hear of families going broke just to make sure there are presents under the tree. Yes it is their prerogative to do so and imbue such a sense of worth to their offspring. But so many find they are defined by what they receive and what they give. If little Joey can’t get the latest playstation game they are poor parents. And how it affects the kid Too! How his self-esteem’s struck down that all his friends have the game and not him!
I was in Costco yesterday and oh my the look on some faces: that wide-eyed, I might not get the right thing so I gotta rush about like a stuck pig to make sure my child/sibling/parent/friend/aunt/co-worker/cousin twelfth-removed gets the right gift!!!
I wish to add that while I sit here seeing all the shoppers on Robson pass by, I see many smiling faces. Especially those with loved ones sharing the fun moments. That is great to see.
Yes, the commercialism of this time is far overblown. Yes I know it drives our economy and blah, blah, blah… it also brings friends and family together and this is the reason that I love this season. Period.