We keep Christmas pretty simple around here. Not out of necessity, but mostly out of my own desire. While those around us give and receive copious amounts of gifts, have schedules brimming with activities, parties and holiday festivities, we stay home. We turn down invites to parties and gift exchanges in order to maintain a simplistic, peaceful holiday season.
Actually, that's a lie. We don't receive any invites to such events; if we did, we'd gladly join in the fun. Do people REALLY have holiday parties like they're portrayed on television. Are people really that crazy busy during December? If so, why am I not? Ack, that sentence was an insult to the English language.
Our blank calendar may suggest that we're voluntarily refraining from the holiday chaos, but in actuality, we're just sort of pathetic. It also doesn't help that we're hundreds and hundreds of miles away from our family. If our family was near, I'm certain our shopping list would be twice as lengthy and our schedule doubly full. I love the Army lifestyle with all my heart and while I'm quite accustomed to being away from family, I often long for the big Christmas get-together.
Caroline is fortunate to have a LOT of cousins on Craig's side of the family and it would be fun for her to experience the big family Christmas one of these years.
On the other hand, being away from our families definitely helps keep the excess at bay. When you're near your family, it's quite likely that the amount of gifts received will be excessive. I like gifts as much as the next person, but the older I get, the more I realize that getting stuff for the sake of getting stuff isn't all it's cracked up to be.
The minimalist in me prefers a clutter free environment and the thought of adding more stuff to our house leaves me feeling slightly tense. Now, when I purchase gifts for Caroline I think of these things: does it require batteries, how many little pieces come in the box and where are we going to put it?
I try to indulge one of her wishes that I know in my heart will prove to be a flop. Last year it was Pixos; this year it's Bendaroos.
I regretted the purchase even before the transaction was complete; I know they'll end up scattered everywhere and hardly played with; but it's Christmas. What can I say?
It's just not an all out extravaganza around here. Perhaps we're doing Caroline a favor by not creating expectations that might be hard to meet every year.
On the other hand, I wonder if my quest for keeping it simple is misunderstood by some. Sure OUR tree is filled with presents, but you didn't find my standing in line at the post office to mail off gifts to our extended family. We probably should; it's just that the task seems daunting.
It's hard to buy for people you hardly see. What could they want? Or need? What do they hate?
For an uptight, control freak, I sure do know how to slack off sometimes.
And here I find myself the recipient of a very generous and unexpected gift this week; something I certainly don't deserve; something I feel guilty accepting. I know giving doesn't have to be reciprocal; it REALLY is better to give than to receive. And yet, I find myself feeling badly that someone has been so generous to me, and I've been so NOT generous in return.
It's a shame that a season of peace, love and joy turns into a season of guilt.
Although, I'm pretty adept at turning ANY season into a guiltfest.
Guilt and self loathing are the two things I do best.
I don't know; I'm afraid I'm not making much sense.
I suppose I just needed a moment to unload this heavy pile of guilt and doubt I schlep around.
Sort of like airing my grievances....it must be Festivus tonight.
Hey, it is Festivus. It's December 23rd, right?
Festivus for the Rest of Us!
Time to dig out my pole......