Posts Tagged ‘Gifts’

California Christmas Inferno – What is a holiday?

My ex-boyfriend’s parents were multi-millionaires. The reason I mention this is because it was my ‘class issue’ holiday.  They disliked my dating their son Zach. I usually get along with just about everyone. This whole holiday shocked me to the core. There was no welcome mat. They were socially forced to involve me in their festivities (Christmas dinner, gift opening, and even family photos).

I was in an episode of the twilight zone. Zach and I went to pick up the homemade holiday dinner. This meal was not made at home. It was made by a family business that makes Christmas dinners every year for people who can afford it. Seeing as I was in new territory I peeked over the counter at the check. It was five hundred dollars. I can’t describe the feeling I had at that moment. Seeing as Zach’s mom doesn’t cook this was their tradition. It was perfect. The food was a complete meal, but lacked heart.

The gift opening was embarrassing because my gifts for Zach (even the handmade one) were upstaged and looked at awkwardly by his parents. It is difficult to shop for someone who has everything. I was blessed with the gift of a romantic engraved ipod.

Everything was perfect, expensive, immaculate and filled with disappointment. The underlining factor was that the parents were disappointed that I existed, sad that their kids were not following in their footsteps. Zach took the role of the whiney kid. I’ve never seen an adult go so quickly from normal adult to childhood regression. They didn’t drink, so everyone was over-eating to compensate for the lack of conversation. I felt uncomfortable through the whole visit.

There is nothing wrong with having money. And every family has their own personal dysfunction. There is a positive spin to this. Maybe I’m trying to talk more about ‘what not to do’. I want to talk about finding the heart of the holiday. You can follow a rulebook or take things as they come.

I ask the question ‘what is a holiday?’ I’m not even sure. It could be family, food, consumerism, the showing of love, festive feelings, trying to reenact our childhood, trying to give our children something to remember. In my last story-blog Christmas, it was about the food, drinking and fighting. That was the normal they were happy with. For Zach’s family it was about covering up what each person was really thinking, and expressing things in passive aggressive ways. For me, I think a holiday is about cookies and lights, and maybe a little reenacting of my childhood. I don’t know the answer to this question. I’m sure it’s different for each person.

Please comment and let me know what a holiday is or means to you.

– Thank you

My Slightly Disturbing Opinion on Holiday Gifts

Last year I spent Christmas with a family in California. I had never spent the holiday with them before and I was in for a surprise. I was told to be up at five am in case the children woke up early. They didn’t actually wake up until eight am, and by then I was dead asleep on the couch.

Under the tree were about a hundred gifts. About three of them were for me, and maybe five or six for each adult. The rest were for the two children. I watched the children rip open each gift, one by one, each time repeating an unenthusiastic robotic “thank you”. Almost very gift was made of plastic, made in China, and a couple of them even broke minutes later. The adults entertained themselves trying to fix them when they broke. This was just how they did their holiday.

The adults were stressed out, I believe because they wanted it to be a perfect day. They compensated by drinking way too much. The part that made me the saddest was that after about an hour of opening gifts the little girl asked her mom “can I stop opening gifts now?” There were still many many gifts left and the mom told her to try and finish. The whole thing took over two hours and no one was having fun. After awhile I fell back asleep on the couch.

Once back home I put the experience into perspective. So much festivity, yet why did I have such a bad time? Growing up, my parents, relations, and Santa got together to give us each under ten gifts, all of quality. I loved Christmas as a kid.  These kids only got plastic stuff that would not last.

This relates back to clutter clearing because all the children got for Christmas was clutter. The parents maxed out their credit cards on the kind of plastic toys that in a year end up at Goodwill. I feel cynical writing this, but it was shocking and affected me. I want to end on a good note. People love just knowing that you are thinking of them. If you are going to buy someone a gift, let it be useful, artistic, and most of all full of love.