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I’m sure there are some, if not many who would consider me a secret Scrooge. And the funny thing is that I am willing to bet that there are more like me than are will to admit it.
You see, I like the holiday season just fine. From Thanksgiving Day that falls on the fourth Thursday of November in the US through the weeks of December before Christmas Day, I’m wearing a smile, enjoying the festivities and all the preparations that happen. I’m light hearted and I sleep well at night. No one would ever guess that eventually I become a Scrooge.
I think this feeling of dissatisfaction and disappoint started way back when I was a little girl. Like most children, I was impressionable. The stores selling toys knew this, of course, and made the most of it through the commercials I saw on TV all during the holiday season. To make matters worse, my best friend didn’t have siblings so she usually got exactly what she wanted. There seemed to never be second best at her house.
If I had been wiser (Can a child be wise?), I would have picked one of two girls who lived across the street from me to be my best friend. In both cases, there were two brothers and a sister who had to be considered. These girls were lucky if they got second best. They graciously received what was given to them, happy with the thought that they were remembered.
I’ve always known that I shouldn’t expect everything I want. I’ve always known that I should be grateful for what I receive. As a child, I tried my best to mask my disenchantment on Christmas morning, saying thank you with a big smile to my parents, my brother, and others who gave me gifts. I knew that if I wanted the day to be pleasant, I must appear happy.
Luckily, the disappointment of not getting what I wanted only lasted until I was old enough to really understand the lengths people went to when buying gifts for loved ones. That understanding came about when I was ten years old and was babysitting Courtney’s boys. It was that year that I finally had my own money to spend. I remember how much I enjoyed shopping with my mom that year, looking for just the right gifts for the boys. I didn’t have a lot to spend, but enough to get each of them one small toy.
Despite the fact that I finally understood the joy of giving, Christmas Day was still disenchanting for me. For years, I couldn’t figure out why I felt this way. In fact, I was clueless until my son’s third Christmas.
That Christmas morning my son ripped open the boxes of gifts that were under the tree. He looked at each gift very carefully and then went on to the next. After he examined the last gift, he looked at me and asked, “What should I do now?” That’s when it hit me. Opening up the presents was the end of all the fun and excitement. Everything from there on was anti-climax.
It wasn’t the gifts I was interested in at all. It was the fun and excitement of the festivities and preparing for the big day that I loved so much and still do.
This year Hubby and I won’t be doing any real celebrating on Christmas Day because he has to work. This has happened before, and, like before, I really don’t mind it at all. We’ll have chicken, rice, sweet potatoes and another vegetable for lunch before he leaves for work. I’ll spend the afternoon reflecting on the fun of the previous weeks and talk on the phone with family living in other states.
It’ll be a completely relaxing experience. I wish all of you a Merry Christmas. 🙂
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James Edgar Skye
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