Christmas Cheer: Giving or Taking?

As I’m sure you’ve heard more than one person say (jokingly or not) in the last while, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year!”.

Is it?

When we think of Christmas, a few things come to people’s minds. We think of giving and receiving gifts, baked goods, good food with friends and family, and paid vacations or time off work (to name a few). There is, however, the other side of the chocolate coin.

Trekking through over-crowded malls filled with angry and frustrated people looking for the perfect gift, bad mall food (because there is no way you are going to go home to prepare something and THEN go out), extremely pushy and aggressive mall kiosk vendors, hours spent wrapping all of the gifts you bought, excessive time spent slaving over hot stoves and ovens just to have the food/snacks vanish in a matter of minutes, etc.

Sometimes it just seems like so much work, doesn’t it?

Personally, I just enjoy the time off to relax and recharge the batteries. I think we all need more of that, just the simple relaxation and stress-free holiday that we honestly deserve. I understand that some people love the hustle and bustle of the holiday season and everything that goes with it. If that’s what you enjoy, then more power to you and I hope the Elf On A Shelf helps with the clean-up.

For most people who I talk to during the day when asked what their ideal Christmas holiday is, respond with different things but mostly the same fundamental pattern:

Stress-free, quiet, relaxing, and often gift-less holiday. People just want to be happy, safe, and the same for their loved ones. Is that too much to ask, I wonder? I don’t believe for a second that it is.

I think we get to a point in our lives when we reach a certain age, that Christmas hasn’t necessarily lost its lustre or wonder… but we desire things very different from when we were kids. As children, it was all about Santa and presents. We were taught from a young age that Christmas meant that if we were good all year-long, that Santa would come in a big old sleigh and we would get lots of great presents for Christmas morning.

My parents were a bit more practical and told my brother and I straight out of the gate that Santa wasn’t real, that it was Mom and Dad that bought the presents and put them under the tree. From the age we were able to understand what that meant, Christmas didn’t lose its magic for us but instead it shifted immediately from a magical fat man in a cart pulled by some forest animals to knowing Mom and Dad bought whatever we got, but we were still super excited to see what they got us. The mystery of what it could be was almost like a drug, and we took it willingly.

As we got older, we once again shifted our perspective and started to GIVE presents and not just receive them. We learned that the joys of giving were just as important (if not more) than getting and the time spent with family was a gift in and of itself.

Fast forward 20 years and another shift occurred, where now we were old enough that we didn’t want presents anymore. We knew that time spent with family and that we were happy and safe were all that really mattered… and to be honest, if we wanted something we would just buy it anyways if we wanted it bad enough, as there was nothing we needed.

Jump to present day (no pun intended… sort of) and I’m a bit older now (I’M STILL YOUNG!) almost anticipating another shift in the next few years. What that could be, I don’t know, but I can tell you one thing: At Christmas I will always have a cookie and a gulp of milk for the Santa that never was a part of my childhood, for the lessons learned from my parents about Christmas as a teenager, and the gift of the small happy things as an adult.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and a Happy New Year!


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