Friday, November 23, 2007

Christmas guilt

Oh's going to be one of those years. Christmas is just going to sneak up and smack me between the eyes, as if I didn't see it coming.

It's truly hard to miss it these days, what with the bigger stores putting up displays, advertising and even decorations in October or even September. And, of course, there are the smug declarations from friends who have finished their Christmas shopping at the beginning of November (you know who you are, girl - love you, but really...!) Once we get this damn election and the multi-million dollar waste-of-space advertising campaign out of the way tomorrow (bye, bye, Johnie, don't show your face round here no more), there will be "Christmas is coming" morning, noon and night on all the media.

Some years I have been so organised. One memorable year, I was blessed with an unexpected tax return in the UK a couple of months before Christmas, and delighted in shopping for the perfect present for each of my close family members, before wrapping them with care and love, and sending my bounty homeward, bugger the cost. My family's pleasure was worth every pound. Most years, I manage to at least have a Christmas card list written, selected and ready for posting by now (I still have some dear ones in the UK, and it's good to get them off by now).

I have this year's half-finished Christmas card list on the desk in front of me. It hooks the corner of my eye guiltily; I should perhaps be working on it, and not writing this (but then I'd have NaBloPoMo guilt, too).

Don't get me wrong - I love least, I think I do. It's sometimes hard to be sure with all the layers of obligation and guilt which are layered all over it. Strip away the religious context, the glitz and gifts and media overload. The core of Christmas, the sharing of love and food and time with your beloved ones is a special and precious thing; when it is good, it is very good indeed.

Somehow, I have to get from here to there. First, I have to pare away the guilt. Then, I have to knuckle down here and finish the damn list - these are people I love, and this is as good a chance as any to let them know.


tiff said...

Hmmm, Christmas can be a hard time of year. I hear you on the guilt part. I feel the stress and the push and pull of consumerism, especially with the children wanting this and that.

It has sort of snuck up on us this year, hasn't it?

dhvibe said...

I have a story. I have been unemployed for almost a year now. I'm a librarian.

Each year I struggle through the gift exchange part of this holiday. This year was even more humiliating because I received a gift card from an old friend that was for a very large amount.

I was unable to buy him anything. I have less than a hundred dollars in my checking account!

It really is the worst feeling. It makes me feel cheep and selfish.

I also had the same problem at Christmas my parents. Everyone was buying me presents and I couldn't afford to pay for my own or even lunch out with brother and sister.

What should a person do about it?

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