The Most Terrible Time of the Year

I love Thanksgiving. It’s my favorite holiday. But it’s my favorite holiday partly because it’s the start of the Christmas season.

And that makes this season awful.

Awful you say? Yes. Terrible. Agonizing. At our home, we don’t tag our Christmas presents. No labels of any kind. That means that the giver and the receiver have to both be able to identify the gift as being from the one to the other. It makes generic gifts impossible. We have to spend a great deal of time thinking about and worrying over every gift we give. It’s made Christmas morning a magical time and put the focus on the giving instead of the receiving, which in a family of ten is critical to prevent Christmas from becoming a festival of unbridled hedonism.

But therein lies a problem as well. I have adult children now. Well, Alexander is pretty much an adult. He’s 19. The others of the Three Musketeers are 16 and 14, respectively, so they are also people now, with their own interests and ideas. But because we live together and share a lot of DNA, their interests and mine coincide fairly closely much of the time. So when researching cool things to give them, I inevitably find a whole host of things I want. For me.

And I cannot buy them. No, it’s worse than that. I cannot even really talk about them. We don’t make traditional Christmas lists in our home, either. We have lists, all right, but they are of the things we intend to give, not the things we want to receive. So while I can come home and tell my wife I found this incredible new science-fiction series by Kristine Katherine Rusch, of which I have only read the first book, having done so I cannot now buy the remainder of those books, used, on Amazon, for practically nothing, because I know that from the middle of November to the end of December, she is listening with great attention to everything I say, for just such an inkling of what I might want to receive on Christmas morning.

All that is great. But because I’m doing so MUCH research, that series is far, far from the only thing I’m going to evidence interest in. Ordinarily, I’d just buy the stuff if I really want it and it fits my budget. But this time of year, I can’t do that. So what we have every day is a constantly expanding list of things I know I would enjoy and really want to buy, and an ever-shrinking list of things I actually CAN buy, so as not to obscure the gifts my family might give me.

And on Christmas morning, inevitably, I will find that nobody was listening to that particular discussion about that particular thing, that everyone has gotten me stuff I love and cherish, but not that particular thing, and I could have been reading and/or enjoying that thing I wanted for the last six weeks with an untroubled conscience.

It sucks.

In a good way.

2 Responses to “The Most Terrible Time of the Year”

  • My husband does not get this concept. I also do not buy myself anything this time of year and the things that I buy for the kids etc. I don’t give them until Christmas, Shaun just carries on with buying the stuff he wants and if he buys something for someone else he passes that along too. It makes Christmas very difficult. (And expensive.)

  • Melanee says:

    We are doing everything hand/homemade this Christmas. Well, almost everything. This would be a good post for your collection. :)

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