I'm pretty cynical about Christmas. Not about the holiday itself, but what it has become. It's just blown up into this huge consumer event where stores are open 24 hours and people are frantically wrapping pieces of plastic for small children who will no doubt be completely overwhelmed by the pile of stuff they will have to deal with tomorrow morning.
I'm just not a gifty person in general. It's not that I think gifts are bad, or that I don't like to give or get them. I'm all for a well thought out item that someone gives because they made it especially for you, or something that someone saw that reminded them of you, or something that someone really knows you love or need. I just don't like giving gifts for the sake of having to give a gift. I don't like the idea that someone was rushing around at Sears and found something on sale that would work and checked me off the list - done. I've had far too much of random gifts under the tree just to make it look "full". I can recall a few Christmas mornings spent opening the oddest things, and realizing that they were not really for me - they were there for me so the giver would feel as though they had given enough. I know there is this childhood fantasy of having gifts piled up until you can barely see the tree, but really, think about it. Is that what you want? Is that what any kid wants? To spend a day just unwrapping socks, books, plastic toys, and princess crowns, and trucks and cars, and ipods, and and and...? To have everything you have asked for (and lots of stuff you haven't, or that you no longer care about) presented in one fell swoop? Maybe some do. I am not in that camp.
I love the way everything feels on Christmas eve and Christmas day - but I don't love the total madness that precedes it all. I'd rather enjoy the holiday by spending time with people I love than run around like a chicken with my head cut off trying to find "stuff" for everyone I've ever met, bake a thousand cookies that I don't want to eat, or send out cards to everyone in my outlook contacts. For the folks that enjoy doing that - fantastic - keep at it. I just feel like there are so many expectations around Christmas that lots of people end up doing things that really stress them out and forget about honoring themselves and their values during the season. That's why the mall is full of crazy people who crash into each other in the parking lots and are tired and rude with cashiers and each other. It all just seems so counter intuitive to me.
I love the holiday lights on a quiet, dark night. I love waking up and snuggling with my family on Christmas morning. I love seeing Peanuts eyes (and am looking forward to seeing what Pumpkin thinks) when she walks into the living room and sees the tree lit with gifts underneath. I love opening and enjoying the (not so big pile of) meaningful and thoughtful things we want to give each other. I love having a home cooked breakfast together and spending the day playing. I love having carolers sing at our front door. I love having everyone home and together. I love the evergreens and the smell of pines in my house. I love how beautiful people make their homes with decorations and candles. There are so many things about Christmas to love - honor yourself this season and do what makes you and your family truly happy.