Saturday, December 01, 2007

With the holidays approaching us with a force that can be compared to that of the Bull Races in Spain, I am holding on tight. Christmas has always been my favorite holiday and also the one to that brings me the most stress. This year I am simplifying it even more than last year.

I work with very needy families, both emotionally and financially. I also work at a hospital where I have happened to be on call for the Christmas holiday. In reflection of these things, I have to wonder, what is Christmas all about? The truth is that over time I have seen it evolve from a simple tradition of eating, gathering and yes gifts but not like the gifts of today. Today, it is not unheard of foe someone to get a car for Christmas. The gifts our children ask for are super high tech ( that h
ave nothing to do with interacting with another human being) and well my goodness, these high tech gifts have the price tag to make me choke for a moment ....or two.

I think back to the Christmases I had as a child, of course, because that is all I have to compare it to, and I a
m saddened. I remember my family gathering at mom's because back then we all lived in the same apartment building and the purchasing of gifts for the kids was a really BIG deal because these were just regular folks, making very little money. If we each got 2 gifts that was huge. I remember it as fun, with all the children running around and the adults laughing and dancing. I remember our silver Christmas tress, which I thought came from a forest filled with them. Living in the city, this tree and all of its family was a phenomenom to me. My mother never asked what I wanted for Christmas, because basically it did not matter. I got what she could afford and I always loved every single thing, well, except for clothes.

Now here I am all grown up and I am facing Christmas, wishing I could revisit the past and show my son just one of those holidays with my family. This year for Christmas day I am seeking to do volunteer work with my family in Pennsylvania. Perhaps, a soup kitchen, a shelter or a nursing home. There is a wonderful feeling that washes over me in giving something to a stranger and watching them smile. Christmas is still a time of rejoicing and giving but this year I'd like to rejoice in giving to others.

When I look around I see how very much we have and that there is nothing that any of us really need. That is the biggest gift, the ability to see how very fortunate we are.


Matty said...

Simply me.
I haven't shopped seems that Christmas now is all about 'getting' and not 'giving'..It's up to us as parents to teach our kids that giving is more important than getting.
We can only teach by example..and writing a check for an organization at this time of year is nice..but it's better to teach our kids by donating a food basket for a family in need or helping out at the shelters.
Have a great Christmas.

Guilty Secret said...

What a beautiful post. There is a lot of talk of simplifying Christmas this year (or streamlining as I have been calling it).

I hope you have an wonderful time whichever of your excellent ideas you settle on, and tell us all about it afterwards!

simply me said...

Thank you both. On Dec. 22nd I've been invited to join a friend and her family to gather at a soup kitchen to give out turkeys...then after that is done we will be decorating for Christmas dinner.
I am really looking forward to doing this with Jon. I think he will get a lot out of it.
Last year we gave a donation to a village in Africa where a friend of mine was stationed with the Peace Corps. So little goes such a long way to these villages.
I will let you know how it turns out this year.
Wishing you both a healthy and Happy Christmas. Blessings.

Dust-bunny said...

I so agree with you (but you knew that already, didn't you?)...I, too, miss those wonderful Christmas's of yesterday...silver trees and all (remember the round quad reflector of blue, yellow, red, and green that spun around in front of a floor light to make the tree change color?)! If only we could take the kids back. If only we could go with them!