When I was a child, Christmas was all about presents; the more I received the merrier. I was the second of eight children and always found it stressful when one or other of my siblings got more gifts than me (which was the case most every year).
You can imagine with so many of us, the closer we got to December 25th the more the base of the Christmas tree got buried beneath piles of beautifully wrapped bundles. At that time, presents represented a sense of warmth, of belonging, of being loved.
As I got older, my perception inevitably changed, though I still LOVE to open a gift or two.
And now, I have a daughter whose appetite for receiving presents is even more voracious than mine ever was.
Here I feel torn.
On the one hand, I totally get her wanting to stack the base of the tree high with gifts bearing her name. Yet, I believe it’s crucial that she learn and incorporate in her life the deeper meaning behind Christmas, including the historical and religious aspect and all that that entails.
Of course Christmas means different things for different people. For me it’s about hanging out with family; it’s a time to slow down and remember to appreciate life; to express gratitude for everything; to share laughs with friends. Naturally, it’s about exchanging gifts as well, yet this is no longer the main reason behind the holiday season.
So as I continue to struggle through the dilemma of the commercial aspect of Christmas vs. the spirit of Christmas, I have to continually remind myself that everything happens in due course. It took me many years to snap out of my preoccupation with ‘give me, me, me, me’! So, one day, my daughter, too, will be teaching her child (children), about the true meaning of Christmas.
And I will be there in the background, cheering her on. A proud mom.