I love Christmas. I love the holiday season. I love the lights, the music (listen to some of the funniest annoying holiday music here). I love the cold weather. I hope for snow. And for 45+ years or so, I’ve gotten up very early on Christmas morning, excited to see what’s under the tree. Even as an adult, I get up before the sun rises, put on the coffee pot, turn on the stereo and the lights on the tree and settle in for a morning of opening presents.
This year though, like a lot of folks, we’re facing a budget deficit in our household and so what might usually appear under the tree and in our stockings is likely going to be on the short side. Funny though, for some reason, this isn’t bothering me nearly as much as I might have expected. Here’s why…
Driving back from Thanksgiving at my mother-in-law’s house in Connecticut, my spouse said to me that she felt we’d grown a bit distant over the past months. Truthfully, this came as a surprise to me. I didn’t feel the same way at all. But couples don’t live happily together for years without every now and then being honest with one another like this, and so I listened to what she had to say and I thought about it a lot. It’s true that we’ve sprouted and developed lots of interests over the past years. Some of these have been mutual, but many are unique, resulting in time apart to pursue the things that individually make us happy. And that’s all good.
But also like many people nowadays, the daily stress of trying to make ends meet has taken a toll. We don’t get any extended vacation time together. We can’t afford to take trips away, just for ourselves. We both work multiple jobs and balance full work schedules with weekend chores and errands and maybe an occasional movie. But not much. There’s just not much left for much more. Not much time. Not much money. It can be stressful without one even realizing the stress.
So when Lynn shared this thought with me over Thanksgiving, I brought up this line of thinking. She said, “We have to think more creatively then” and she’s right. The other day, when wondering what and/or how I was going to manage Christmas presents this year, I realized that what Lynn really wants – and surprisingly, me too – is nothing at all. No thing. What she wants for Christmas and always is for us to be close, to do things together, to make time for one another. I wish for that, too. Like those hypocritical MasterCard commercials, what we both want is priceless.
Truth be told though, I’m gonna cry if there’s not a THING I can give Lynn for Christmas. (Okay… I’m gonna cry if there’s not a THING for me on Christmas morning, too.) I keep thinking about Lynn’s comment that we need to do is be creative (something that fortunately we’re both pretty good at) and the other day I thought of just the thing – the thing that combines both noTHING and someTHING. I’d write it here, but Lynn reads this blog and there are still a couple of weeks or so ’til Christmas, so it will remain a secret.
But the real message I think I’m writing about in this muse can still be shared – it’s that somewhat hokey message that the gift is in the giving. For those who believe in the Christian part of Christmas, that message is seen in the gift of Jesus. For others who believe in Santa, he brings gifts, too. For those who believe in the hope of a season of giving and the chance for peace in the world, well it’s certainly there as well. Give what you have the most to give, and that is yourself. Give yourself to those you love, to those in need, to those who you share space with in the world. It’s nothing and it’s everything.
All I want for Christmas this year is another year of a loving relationship with my bunny, another year of warmth in my home, another year of good humor and good friends, another year to grow in myself, and a way overdue visit with my Aunt Sheran. None of these will cost anything but my time and myself, and I’ll be all the richer for them.
Plus, I did just buy that 1914 A-4 Gibson mandolin that I’ve wanted forever. Money could buy me that. 🙂