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”Where are you Christmas? Why can’t I find you? Why have you gone away?”
These are the words that the late, great, Cindy Lou Who sang so courageously one winter night before Christmas. And then, when all the presents were stolen by the mean old Grinch, they walked out Christmas morning, held hands around the tree, and sang like canaries who aren’t in molting season.
But why did they sing? Were they excited about all the great gifts they received? No, quite the contrary. They didn’t receive any gifts at all but sang because they had each other and were happy to celebrate the holiday with the ones they loved.
Why am I saying all of this? Well, I just received news from my parents that Christmas is canceled. We will not be doing gifts this year and instead will be celebrating the holiday with just dinner and drinks with our cousins and aunts/uncles.
At first, I was upset by this. But at the tender age of twenty-seven, should I be?
Well, growing up as a youth, I loved Christmastime. After all, what kid doesn’t? My sister and I would put together our Christmas lists for Santa; flipping through all the Toys-R-Us (RIP), Circuit City (RIP), and KB Toys (RIP) catalogs with excitement and joy. We would then be fortunate enough to wake up Christmas morning to the floor covered in gifts for my sister and I. Santa (allegedly: my parents) truly spoiled us and to that, I am very thankful.
Giving gifts as a child is, however, a bit challenging. Luckily, my elementary school had sales before Christmas break where kids could buy a Christmas decoration for their mom and a Christmas tie for their dad. My sister and I would also, through the help of our parents, chip in to help them buy each other gifts so that the kids would feel included when the parent’s turns would come to open up presents.
But as the years progressed and as my sister and I have gotten older, this bountiful supply of gifts would rightfully-so dwindle down to a few boxes here and there. I think of this all as a natural occurrence though, as the quantity and price tag on gifts should rightfully decrease as the offspring progress into their adult lives. Unfortunately, this is occurring at a time when the kids have grown up to now have adult jobs and the means to buy their parents something they might actually enjoy.
“But I don’t need anything,” say the parents. But do any of us really need anything? The answer for most of us is no, but it’s easy to admit that it certainly is nice receiving a gift from someone. To know that they took time out of their day to get you something that they’d thought you’d enjoy is just a nice feeling.
And that’s not the only thing, as I also enjoy giving gifts to people. Throughout the year I’ll make mental notes of something they mention that they need or would enjoy and then I already have a head start for my Christmas shopping when the season approaches.
So why am I upset? Well, in my eyes, if none of us are giving gifts for Christmas then it seems like we don’t care anymore. But is that correct? Shouldn’t I be thankful enough that we are all happy (besides me — I’m dead inside), healthy (also besides me — I jogged 11 minutes on the treadmill last night and needed my inhaler), and together?
I suppose my family is going through a transition and it’s just something that will take some getting used to. But I’m still going to hang on for a little bit longer, and so in the spirit of Christmas, I’m going to buy my family gifts because that’s how I show I care. Also, and this is a little bit selfishly, I kick ass at wrapping gifts and I’ll be damned if those skills don’t go to use this holiday season.
So that’s my plan. Maybe this is just a part of growing up and something I’ll have to get used to. Or maybe it’s just that I can’t accept change; that I’m now an adult with my own 401k and health bills. That it’s just me longing for a simpler time where I didn’t have responsibilities, had two weeks off for Christmas, and would play with my friends in the snow without a care in the world. I guess what it boils down to is I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them. .