Everyone who has ever been to my house for the holidays knows that they’re always a big deal. I grew up with a large family which meant there were a lot of people in and out of the house for EVERY holiday but especially Christmas Eve. It was the night when absolutely no one had to work the next day so we could stay up late and play games together as a family. It was a very special time of year. It wasn’t special because of the presents I got though, and I’ll tell you why.
My mom was like a kid at Christmas. She loved the festiveness. The day after Thanksgiving the Christmas music would blare through the house early in the morning, and we would get to decorating. The tree would go up and all the ornaments would come out. We’d remember a little about where we got certain additions over the years, and we’d sing and dance. It was a joyous day. No one could take the excitement away, because it was infectious. At this point not one single present had been bought or put under the tree although anyone who has ever seen my house at Christmas will tell you that those were in abundance. There was never any talk about canceling Christmas, because it wasn’t a single day. You didn’t need to go canceling Christmas because it was an entire season of a variety of activities.
We couldn’t go canceling Christmas baking or the act of giving to those around us. Now I know that Over The Big Moon had no plans to cancel those types of things either. She’s not canceling giving to her community, decorating, or other Christmas type activities, but she’s still canceling what I thought to be an integral part of Christmas growing up. It wasn’t the receiving of presents I looked forward to every year although I loved it as well, but it was the giving of presents. You see my mom is a giver, and she gives without condition. The main reason that I cannot imagine canceling Christmas in this way either is that I don’t really remember the presents so much as the activities surrounding them.
For me, Christmas is a time spent with family. It’s a time spent decorating, baking, cleaning, selecting gifts, and most importantly enjoying spending time together. Shopping with my mom for Christmas was always a highlight. We’d get ready to go to the local stores sometime after 10PM, and we’d look for good deals on things people actually needed. Sometimes along the way you’d hear a sad story about a family that couldn’t afford Christmas or that had some recent tragedy, and my mom would buy more stuff. These presents would get wrapped and delivered to the family in need. My mom would do this any time of the year really, but it was even more pertinent during the holidays and especially for kids. This to me was always so awesome, and I always wanted to help. I always wanted to help, because I always saw this behavior demonstrated by every member of my family. Everyone was willing to give up something in order to help someone else. Everyone was willing to put in a little extra work for their neighbor any time of the year.
This is why I think canceling Christmas isn’t the right idea. Entitlement to me is mostly a learned behavior, and I think that if we teach the spirit of this holiday year round we’d have less problems when it came to Christmas. We wouldn’t need to go around canceling Christmas, because we’d be teaching each other to be a member of a community that gives back all year round. You have to make sure that you’re not making Christmas about the presents. You have to let your light shine through and be a beacon guiding your children to be thoughtful every day.