The older I get, the more I feel like the commercialization of Christmas just seems to add more stress and anxiety to something that shouldn’t be stressful at all. At holidays like Thanksgiving, all I’m required to do is show up, eat all the wonderful food that has been prepared, and take the time to think about and express what I am truly thankful for. I get to be around all my friends and family without worrying if they’re going to like the random scarf I spent hours at the crowded mall for and really just ended up purchasing because I couldn’t find anything else. I don’t have to feel guilty when so and so hands me a gift and I don’t have any gift to give in return so I make up some lame excuse about how I forgot it at home and will get it to them asap. There is no reason to put unneeded charges on my credit card for a bunch of things for other people that are unneeded to begin with. Where is the joy in that?!
The fact of the matter is I actually like gift giving. And of course… I LOVE gift getting. ? I think it’s the pressure that usually ends up getting to me and ruining the beauty of it. Sometimes I think it would be nice if you could just give a friend a gift the third Saturday of July and say MERRY CHRISTMAS! Or, be walking through the mall and grab something small for your Mom just because you know she would like it, and not still feel obligated to find something she may or may not like by December 25th. Nobody has to pretend they love the new flannel pajamas from Grandma.
So, out of all the “gifts” I might get this year, I think I may have already received my favorite one. I just finished slathering my lips with my new Burt’s Bees chapstick, bought for me by my best friend this weekend while we were out enjoying life and being thankful for the amazing friendships we’ve kept alive the last 15 years. (In case you aren’t aware, Burt’s Bee’s is the fancy schmancy stuff, not just the regular, plain kind I usually purchase for myself. It’s easily four bucks at least.) Hours earlier I had complained of chapped lips and while she was at the register purchasing a book at Border’s, she saw the chapstick and thought of me. When she got back to the table she told me to close my eyes and hold out my palm, then proceeded to drop this little gem into my outstretched hand. I squealed in delight. No, really…I did. Hopefully she realizes that it’s probably the best Christmas gift I’ll get this year and that she is totally off the hook a month from now. Because to me, that simple act of kindness was indicative of how I want all my gifts to be given. Simple…from the heart…and given just because. If it happens in December that’s fine, but it’s not necessary. Every time I use my chapstick I will think of her and the amazing, thoughtful friend that she is. Merry Christmas to me… on November 28th.
And here are some pics of the people I love and are thankful for that I got to spend some quality time with this weekend…