There was a time where I loved Christmas. I would wake up and there would be presents under the tree. Mom, John, and I, and sometimes Jason if he were able to come home, would spend the early morning together.
Then we would go to my grandparents house, and there would be an even bigger tree. So many ornaments that I helped to hang, and lights, and more presents. And my family would be there. My cousins, my uncles and aunts. And most importantly my grandparents.
There would be tons of food, talking, playing. So much warmth and love.
That is what I remember the most about Christmas as a child, the closeness of family.
It wasn’t the gifts that mattered to me. Even back then on some level I knew that it wasn’t the gifts I was really enjoying. It was the group, the feelings. The way that I couldn’t help but smile because I could feel how happy everyone else was.
How could I not enjoy it?
Now though, I feel that Christmas is very cheap. I see commercials on TV, ads in the store windows. I see businesses saying how they will be open Christmas day, and I think about the employees who will have to work.
I think about how Christmas decorations are out in stores before Halloween is over.
I think about how in society it has nothing to do with family anymore. It’s just a reason to spend money on useless things. How all of it feels superficial, cheap, and pointless.
My trip to Vegas to spend the week and a half with my family was our ‘Christmas’. We still value our time together, and that is still the focal point of the holidays for us. The one time where we all can normally get time off to be together in one place.
But Christmas, the holiday, means virtually nothing to us.
Now that my bothers and I are older, and my grandparents have passed the need or urge to exchange gifts is literally nonexistent. I’m sure Jace will have presents, but for the rest of my family, we don’t value ‘things’. We value each other, and that’s the only reason any of us like Christmas.
It is the one time of year where we can still be together, under one roof.
So while on one level I can’t wait for it to be over. For the decorations to go away. The flashy reminders that “You’re supposed to be spending money on people because that’s the only way to show them that you truly love them.”
At the same time I want it to last for a while longer. So I can have more time with those I care about.
You shouldn’t need a specific time of year to show love and gratitude. You shouldn’t need to give people ‘things’. Giving your time is the most precious thing you can give anyone.
You will never be able to get that time back. You can’t take it back to a store and return it because you don’t like it.
It is gone, forever. Part of your life that is irreversibility invested into something or someone.
How better to show someone you love them then by giving them part of your life?
That is why family time for me is more important than giving someone an object. I would rather have memories of playing Cards Against Humanity, or Buzz Word, or hiking, learning archery, cooking dinner, any number of activities.
I would rather have memories than things.