Remember the reason for the season – part 1

The Monday after Thanksgiving…I think it’s safe to say the Christmas season has officially begun.

I know that on more than one occasion you’ve heard me utter the words, “I hate Christmas.” I don’t really hate Christmas. I’m not a Scrooge or the Kranks or the Grinch. I’m not mean or selfish or against fun, but there are a lot of things I do dislike about Christmas.

I dislike Christmas decorations in stores in October. I enjoy Halloween, and I love Thanksgiving. Christmas music and displays set up in October or November detract from these special days.

I dislike shopping and shopping and shopping. I dislike shopping for many reasons and spending too much money is only a minor one. I dislike the crowds. I dislike trying to buy gifts that others will like. I dislike worrying about whether or not I treated everyone fairly. I know it shouldn’t matter how many gifts or how much was spent on each, but I still worry about these things. Does a gift look too cheap or too expensive? Too big or too small? Is it something the recipient wants? If not, will he be honest and take it back instead of keeping it just to make me happy? Gift giving is way too stressful.

I dislike decorating. I love others’ decorations, but I just am not interested in putting up lights, a big tree, and knick-knacks all over the house. I used to love this, so I’m not sure what happened, but I’m all for a small tree, stockings, poinsettias or Christmas cactus, and other simple decorations. Maybe I’ll enjoy decorating again, but not for now.

The delivery of the national Christmas tree at the White House signals the official start of the Christmas season.

I dislike being asked what I want for Christmas. I mean it when I say I don’t want or need anything. That doesn’t mean that I won’t appreciate gifts I receive, but I’m really happy with anything…homemade gifts…cards or notes that you write…books…clothes…gift cards…donations made in my name…anything…or nothing. Yes, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the Kindle and the TV you bought me (or us) for Christmas, but expensive gifts are not required or expected.

While I know you would never tolerate this response to the question, what do you want for Christmas, I think this quote by the author Oren Arnold, is nearly perfect,

“Christmas gift suggestions: To your enemy, forgiveness. To an opponent, tolerance. To a friend, your heart. To a customer, service, To all, charity. To every child, a good example. To yourself, respect.”

Of course Arnold says his inspiration for writing comes from Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John so I guess that explains his perspective.

Now that you know what I don’t like about Christmas, tomorrow I’ll try to convince you I really am not Scrooge. Until then, let me remind you to remember the reason for the season.