Over the years, the meaning of Christmas has changed drastically for me. I went from a wide-eyed, excited child who couldn’t sleep Christmas Eve night in feverish anticipation of the gifts that awaited me beneath the tree, to a grownup who spent way too much money on gifts, that in my own misguided way, were intended to show loved ones how much they meant to me. After a few painful lessons in money management, I realized how un-cute it is to spend the first half of a new year paying off sizable debts incurred by splurging on expensive Christmas gifts.
Don’t get me wrong–it was fun while it lasted. Among the Commercial Christmas gifts I bought (and received) were the latest and greatest electronic gadgets, expensive jewelry, computers and more. My purchases grew bigger with time, until the spending took a toll on my bank account, while battling aggressive crowds and trying to outdo last year’s gift took a toll on my spirit.
Despite the mounting pressure to end this unhealthy relationship, I wasn’t the first family member to abandon the Commercial Christmas tradition. One holiday season, my younger sister suddenly declared, “I’m not doing it this year. No gifts from me. I’m just not in the mood.” It wasn’t a big deal, but I did think for a second that perhaps her unwillingness to buy gifts meant she was either experiencing some mild seasonal depression or she was strapped for cash. Turns out both my assumptions missed the mark. She simply didn’t want to be bothered and I eventually found myself following her lead.
These days, I’ve found quite a bit of freedom in not feeling obligated to buy Christmas presents. If I want to go out and shop, I do. If I don’t, I’m fine with that as well. No stressing out over what to get whom and worrying myself over whether they will appreciate it or if I’ll have buyer’s remorse when I see my credit card statements. Each year, when someone asks if I’m done Christmas shopping, I usually say, “No, I haven’t started” even when I’m pretty sure I have no intention of ever doing so. Part of the reason is laziness, plus the aforementioned debt dilemma, but a huge reason is because I realize my family and friends won’t hold it against me if I refuse to brave the aisles of “Black Friday” Walmart on their behalf or sacrifice my already poor eyesight by endlessly scouring the web for the perfect present. And even further, I shouldn’t have to. That’s because what I will do is invite them over to enjoy a dinner of fried turkey or gumbo and send them home with a plate and some dessert. I will join them for an evening drive around the city to look at houses adorned in Christmas lights. And I’m always down to make the five-hour drive to Grandma’s house while we laugh, talk and catch up the whole way there.
So you see Commercial Christmas, don’t take this the wrong way. It’s not you…it’s me. Despite all of your glittery promises of happiness and incessant holiday cheer, I refuse to indulge. Thankfully me and my family know that the money-free displays of love I put forth throughout the year and during the holiday season are way more valuable than the items you put on sale between the hours of 4 and 6 am, for which you expect me to camp out in front of Target while I try to avoid being trampled by a mob of shoppers who are hypnotized by falling prices.
No thanks…I’ve had all I can take. We’re done so please don’t call me anymore. Happy Holidays!
A satisfied non-customer