I know I'm not the only one out there who is fed up with the so-called Christmas wars. And I was going to write a typical rant about how everyone needs to get over it. But then, I asked myself, why? Why are people getting so worked up about this?
I think it's because we're all completely freaked out about this upcoming holiday season. I've had quite a few conversations with many different people about their financial fears and woes over this season. Yes, we all know it's not supposed to be about commercialism, and we all believe that the holidays should be about spending times with the ones you love. But we also want to give those ones we love something special. We want a gift from us to make them smile.
Those of us who are parents want to see our children's eyes light up with what they really want.
It's ironic, isn't it? This Christmas war (whatever side of the fence you may be on) is actually a sign of what we all have in common. Our wish to give our loved ones the very best, and the scary realization that we'll most likely fall short.
It's easier to get mad at "them" than to stay mad at ourselves or our circumstances. We can spew and rant and rave, but once we've gotten all that out of our system, what do we have left?
Our disappointment and our fear of our loved ones' disappointment...well, maybe not their disappointment, but not the sparkle that we all want to see in their eyes when our holiday of choice comes around.
I came clean with my girls tonight. I told them that I'm going to do the best I can, but that so far, I haven't bought a single present for them. We usually go get fast food on payday for dinner as a treat for all of us. I told them we're going to have to put a stop to that until after Christmas. They looked over their lists (my kids know about Santa), and pared them down for me a bit. That was helpful, because now I know what will light up their eyes, and I can set more realistic goals, and know exactly what it is I'll be shopping for when payday comes around.
I managed to have this conversation without drama from any of us. I didn't cry, neither did they. I reminded them of the great vacations we took earlier this year. I reminded them of the $400 I've had to spend to keep our car in working order over the last month or so. They were quick to jump in and tell me that they know I'm trying. Then, they started conspiring about what to give me for Christmas.
I'm reminded of a saying the girls taught me: "you get what you get and you don't get upset." I have to take that to heart right now. I have to accept that I just don't have what I want to have financially this Christmas. So be it. I will find a way to make those eyes light up, and we will have a Merry Christmas, dammit!
It's easy to find the scapegoats or even get depressed this time of year. But it only takes just a little more digging, just a little more acceptance, and I think we all can find a way to have a happy/merry [fill in the blank]. Happy shopping!