I posted earlier about my ambivalence towards Christmas. This topic is still on my mind, since, you know, Christmas is just a couple of days away.
One problem that I think is overlooked from all the well-intended advice about “keeping Christmas simple” and “finding the true spirit of the holidays” is that it’s HARD to do some of those things when the people around you either a) don’t feel the same way about the holiday as you do, e.g., they actually like Christmas, or b) don’t want to change anything about it.
My simple example: I decided to take some well-intended advice about cutting down on the Christmas Chore List by deleting some folks from my Christmas card list. I wasn’t willing to eliminate the whole project because we have some far-flung relatives who aren’t on Facebook, so they don’t see the updates from us throughout the year. Since these relatives are generally elderly and a few are not in good health, I feel like a card at Christmas is the least I can do.
But I did take a hard look at the list. And I used that Delete button with a fair amount of gusto.
And… what happened?
We got more Christmas cards this year than we’ve ever gotten before, many from people who were at the other end of the Delete button. Plus at least another half-dozen people sent us cards for the first time ever.
Want to cut back on gift giving? That’s one of the biggest issues, as far as I’m concerned. I want to show my love and appreciation for people in my life, but I’m pretty sure it can’t be found in a mall or on eBay. Yet convincing other people to do the same thing is not an easy task. Even in my own little nuclear family, this issue is controversial. My husband wants there to be STUFF under the Christmas tree for everyone to open. We differ on how much STUFF is enough.
In our extended families, we’ve been very specific with certain relatives about not overdoing it at Christmas, particularly for the kids.
Our conclusion: no one listens to us.
My whole point here is that Christmas involves other people — a great number of other people, in some cases — and it’s hard to find common ground when you are looking at changing “the way we’ve always done it.”
That said, I will end this on a positive note because I am enjoying the new trend where strangers are paying off other people’s layaway items at Kmart. That is a bit of Christmas spirit I can support.