Something about holidays, most things about holidays, I don't like. When it comes down to it, it all seems so fake. It's bad enough that you have the Hallmark holidays like Mother's Day and Father's Day where the main beneficiary is business and commerce.
We just got bullied by the food and grocery stores who, with at least a month of preparation and media-hype before the big day, took advantage of our emotional baggage and family obligations and 'made' us spend way too much and eat like gluttons on Thanksgiving.
Now we are less than one month from the mother of all holidays, Christmas. This year I am staging a mini-revolt. I am not going to piss away $40 on a Christmas tree. In fact, I will not put one up this year. I did not venture to the stores and malls on Black Friday. And, in the end, I will put a cap on the spending per person in my immediate family; about $30 per person. This will include a $25 gift card to Target and maybe some cologne or shower gel from AVON. Very cheap. Very practical. The reality is...WE DON'T NEED ANYTHING! And, besides, we don't have the money to be throwing here and there on nonsense. Luckily the boys are old enough where they pretty much have every thing they need and are content with what the holiday will consist of. I already gave them fair warning.
I've never been one to go all out with the holiday decorating. I can't understand the folks who spend the day after Thanksgiving adorning their homes with lights and picking up their Christmas tree. Seems as bit extravagant and useless to me. Now, I'm not entirely a Scrooge. I will admire the pretty lights when I drive around town during this time of year. But, I never understood those people who have the manger, lights on the house and every tree in the front yard, and an inflatable snowman, Santa, and Rudolph taking up space on their lawn. A bit of overkill if you ask me.
While I was growing up, we did have lights on our house and maybe on one of the evergreen trees in our front yard. We would always have a fresh wreath with a plump red bow hanging on the front door. I can remember most Christmases with a fresh tree. We would hang the lights, put on the decorations, and either finish the tree off with some tinsel or spray it with fake snow. Most times the decorating went off without a hitch but as we got older it was more of a chore and a dreaded event as our family grew more depressed and further apart.
I think I've done okay as a parent in making holidays positive but I never went overboard. And, maybe I feel a little guilty about this. But, again, the whole exercise seems fake to me and I'm just not about fake. I want my kids to have enough of a positive outlook on the holidays so they can share and make their own traditions with their families when the time comes. I realize that I am falling short on making the holidays 'spectacular'. It is so hard for me to get in the mood to celebrate. But, it doesn't mean I love my family any less.
The bottom line is the message that we are trying to get through to each other at the holidays: love and family. It's not about presents or cards or how much money we spend (or don't spend).