fa la la la la, la la la la.
I like a lot of things about this time of the year. I like the smell of fresh Christmas trees. I like seeing how the neighbors decorate. I like making cookies. I like sitting on the curb downtown watching the parade go by. And I like sneaking things in the house to surprise people with.
aaaand that's where the guilt comes in.
so you've got nothing?
I wouldn't say that. Santa will stop here this year; I've been in negotiations with Elves & Fairies Local 703 and my contract was approved (self-wrap with elf assistance for final distribution and placement). Nieces and nephews will get what's coming to them. And thanks to careful planning, there will be plenty of food on the table. Hizzoner and I don't give gifts to each other, so there's no worry about that.
then what's the problem? you've done what's expected.
I agree that the important bits have been covered, but…
there's always a "but" with you.
Well… it's not that simple.
yes, it is.
No, it's not. With Christmas comes the inevitable flurry of obligations. Teachers, bus driver, boss, co-workers – it's expected that I cough up a gift for everyone. (Although for the life of me, I don't understand why.) Plus, there's a lot of stuff I want to do for people not even on the aforementioned list that I simply can't. I just … can't. And I don't know what to do about that.
Do they? Really? Do they? I don't know. They say they do, but when people give you something there's a certain amount of reciprocation expected in return, isn't there? I am fortunate to be surrounded by truly lovely folks who are also very generous. No one says anything, but….
I don't know. Part of me wants to just say, "enough, you've done what you can." Part of me is still looking for some way to cover the bases. Thus, guilt. And worry. And that churning feeling in my stomach. And that's not what this season is supposed to be about.
maybe i should get you a box of tums for your stocking.
I saw a luxury car commercial (of all things) featuring a woman surrounded by neatly wrapped gifts. She was nattering about how this was for this person, and this was for the third cousins and this was for… whoever, and the whole theme was about overspending and overgifting and overdoing. (Ironic, for a luxury car commercial. Because buying someone a car that starts at $29,000 as a Christmas gift isn't considered overdoing it?)
Part of me wants to say – like the commercial kind of does – that we've gotten stupid about this "gotta buy for everyone" thing. Yet I know a lot of people who absolutely adore picking out stuff and giving to people, and do it just for the sake of doing it. That's where they get their joy. Is it fair of me to demonize them for it? Of course not. But I still feel guilty that I can't do anything for them in return. It's almost like I'm taking advantage of the relationship.
Maybe it's just me. Maybe this living on a tight budget thing is finally getting to me. Again, I don't know. I do pretty good with it the rest of the year. I get to Christmas and it all starts to go downhill. But then, the whole holiday season is starting to cause more pain than not. Maybe it's all related and doesn't mean so much of anything. Maybe I should just shut up.
Think I'll just go to bed.
Oh, and let me be perfectly clear: I'm not asking for help. No help, no absolution, no anything. I just need to get this off my sizeable chest.