Beyond Babedom

We're (way) over 40. Deal with it.


Remember how you loved Christmas as a kid? The tree, the twinkling lights, the anticipation. It was magic. And, what made it so magic? It was the surprise – you never knew for sure what Santa was going to bring you. Of course, you had your list and maybe you even mailed it to him. But you were never really, really sure. The Christmases I remember most were the ones where Santa brought me things I didn’t even know I wanted.

Then, you got older. And the magic evaporated. And by the time you reached our age, Christmas becomes more a drag than a celebration. Why? No more surprises.

Now everyone asks us what we want. We make lists; we put together online wish lists, like a bridal registry; don’t dare buy me anything that I didn’t specifically ask for. And, voila, the end of Christmas spirit.

One family I know has taken it to a whole, new level; they simply tell each other how much the gift they want costs, request the money for it, and then go buy it themselves. Merry Christmas! No wonder their holiday lasts about 30 minutes.

It’s bad enough when the “list” you get has only one thing on it – so much for surprises. But when the one thing on that list is a gift card (so they can go buy what they want), I start to understand how we’ve lost the Christmas spirit. While lots of people prefer money as a wedding gift, it’s still considered tacky to actually ask your guests to limit themselves to giving cash. So, why is it okay to do that at Christmas?

The joy of gift giving is in seeing the expression on the face of the person who opens it. . . even if they have to fake it. Stop making Christmas about getting what you want and start making it about giving what you want. Get rid of the lists – if you don’t know the person well enough to figure out what they’ll like, you shouldn’t be buying them anything anyway.

As for me, I don’t want to know what I’m getting. And, if I don’t like it?  Isn’t that what eBay is for?

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This entry was posted on Sunday, December 19th, 2010 at 10:15 AM and is filed under My Pet Peeves. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

  1. Susan says: my family it is all about lists and the perpetual mailing of checks amongst one another to pay the person who bought the specific item the recipient requested ..this holds for birthdays AND Christmas. .I no longer participate, though it took some years before the lists stopped magically appearing. Now, I buy what I like in the price range I decide when I want..what a concept.

  2. fred everson says:

    I loved Christmas as a child and love it as an adult. I don’t have any kids and I’m not a Christian, so my Christmas is all about memories. It’s just a festive time of year, especially if you don’t have to get caught in the rat race of shopping and gift exchanges. As a writer, I like Christmas stories — A Christmas Carol and Miracle on 34th St are so tidy and complete that I can hear them over and over. I even put up a tree in my solitary apartment. I don’t give a rat’s ass whether anyone sees it but me and my little bird — it’s a comfort and reminds me of a very happy childhood.

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