I think I can pinpoint the moment where the magic of Christmas died for me.
I must have been at the beginning of my journey through college (if not right before then) when somehow my mum and I got on the topic of finances. My parents did not do a very good job teaching me the importance of saving and investing wisely. So talk of money was only of interest when I would be the one making it (I worked part-time in high school). Anyway, I think my mum may have been trying to educate me on the importance of certain matters regarding avoiding debt and such when I asked her some justifiable question that caused her to reveal something I never knew as a child or even in my early teens. She said:
“The reason I’m in such debt is because I never had the money to pay for your Christmas or birthday gifts. It was all charged on credit cards…”
Those was not her words verbatim, but was basically what she conveyed to me. I was horrified that my own pleasures as a child and waking up early on Christmas Day to many presents underneath the faux tree we always used was the source of much of my mum’s heartache and troubles. I received so much, and I was so grateful for those things that I enjoyed day in and day out through my vacation from school. Had I known I was digging her deeper into a debt hole, I would have never asked or expected anything.
I’m almost certain that since that day…Christmas was no longer a happy time for me. I have never asked my mum for anything money-related without the full intention of paying her back. The expectations, the joy, the wonder of receiving – even now that I have the means to give gifts – feels terribly empty. I expect nothing and participating in festivities have little meaning for me in the company of family. With friends…well…it’s a bit easier on me, but I have never asked for a gift from anyone since I learned of how money and credit cards crippled my mum…
In fact, it infuriates me to see my nephew showered with gifts every Christmas! Yes, I’m inherently jealous that everyone cares to give him shit when the kid is ungrateful to begin with. Yes, I’m irritated that he doesn’t understand the concept of giving and receiving or money, and won’t for a very very long time. Yes, I’m frustrated that Christmas, to him, is all about what shit he’s going to get that he couldn’t get during the year. And yes, I’m angry that this time of year is still magical for him and so many other families no matter how old they are…and my fury only grows when I hear of people who are old enough to give back just siting back and bask in the glow of their nicely wrapped presents every year.
I can’t stand the fact that Christmas has pretty much been ruined for me permanently. That I’m now so damn cold-hearted that I just don’t bother going out of my way for people anymore and pray they don’t do so for me so I don’t feel like an inconsiderate bitch. I understand that Christmas is a time where people find love, peace, and joy in the company of sacrificial gift-giving, especially for children whose parents feel the sacrifice is worth their child’s happiness…but it tears me apart to see people my age finding those wonderful, uplifting, child-like feelings when this time of year has pretty much become a stressful thorn in my side that I force myself to participate in.
To avoid the stress and ill feelings this year, I purposely shopped for myself using my own hard-earned cash and bought lovely things for myself that only I would know I wanted. I then chose the very few people in my life who I love and have been there for me many times this year and bought specific gifts for them regardless of how expensive.
Because fuck money, right?
If someone in my family gets me something, I’ll be grateful but I won’t feel bad that I didn’t feel inclined to give them something. Only those who have earned a level of respect deserve something from me. Besides, in the end, as much as I would like gifts, I have zero expectations to receive one. From anyone. Just be there for me and show me that you care and let the gifts come naturally. We don’t need Christmas to justify showing how we appreciate someone because we should be grateful for what we already have, not expecting more. That’s a ride I finally got off of as of this year.
There are a few people online that I wanted to do something for, but I am horrible at making things that aren’t organically crafted from my heart. So…I’ll just say this:
Thank you for loving me and appreciating me as I am. For caring about me even when I didn’t want you to give a shit.
We all have our own problems and things that try to tear us down. I’m not as strong as I appear to be, and you, my friends, were wise enough to be sensitive to that fact. Friendship and trust are very valuable to me. Those who I have let into my heart are the ones I truly cherish whether I gift something to you or not.
Thank you so much for allowing someone as messed up as me into your life. I’m such a bitch…but I’m so thankful to have people who care about me that I could cry. Here’s to living through yet another Christmas.
Love you all and happy holidays,
:: Ren ::