Christmas. A holiday of cheer, joy, and laughter. A holiday tuned in to giving. A holiday with unique songs.
A holiday I struggle with.
Why the struggle? I find this holiday to be void of real giving. A holiday focused on greediness.
I came from meager circumstances. Many kids and just enough money described my family. I am sure my parents spent the same amount of money at Christmas time as a small family might, however more kids means less presents.
I dreaded and loved Christmas. I had my list of things I wanted and was excited to see if my wishes were granted. Many times I did not get everything. I was disappointed. Frustrated.
Feelings of jealousy and envy invaded the holiday cheer. If my siblings received more presents, I was sad. I cried. My day was ruined. Going back to school was worse. The inevitable conversations of “what did you get?” increased my sadness.
These selfish feelings disturbed me. As I got older, I began to distrust everything Christmas. I began to avoid the “holiday cheer.” I felt like a Scrooge, not because my miserly habits, but because I detested the holiday. I would gladly have given all my money to my family. Given all the greatest gifts to my younger siblings to help them avoid disappointment.
To be clear, I have happy memories growing up. I did not feel the lack of money except for on Christmas.
My dear Mr. B has similar recollections. In his words, he felt the greatest despair at Christmastime. My parents in no way encouraged this thinking.
I do not want this to happen to my children. I don’t want them to equate Christmas with presents. I don’t want selfishness to pervade their happy thoughts. I want Christmas to truly be a season of giving. Money is and will be tight in our family for many years to come (hello medical school!).
Mr. B and I have wondered about what to do with this holiday. Do we give presents? Do we avoid Christmas trees? Do we make it into a family trip?
Readers, I have a quandary that maybe you could provide insight into. The above questions are starters. These questions also leave me puzzled. How can I make Christmas into a season of giving? How can I avoid the selfishness in my own children that invaded my mind? What is the real meaning of Christmas to you, and how do you incorporate it into your own celebrations?