A Short Message to Friends and Family for the Holidays

Christmas evening.

I’ve been wrestling with myself on whether or not to write this post.  I love the winter holiday season; whether you celebrate Christmas, the pagan solstice, or just the “season of giving” in a very general way, the holidays can be an exciting, happy time to eat, drink, and be merry with friends and family.

They can also be hectic, busy, and very stressful… emotionally and definitely economically.  The season of giving has become very commercialized.  It’s not supposed to be about “getting stuff,” and I think most people understand that.  People keep asking me what my daughter needs for Christmas.  I love that they are thinking of her.

But I also feel guilty.  I don’t want anyone to feel obligated to get me or my family anything. (But I don’t want to insult anyone when I tell them that either; I’m not trying to discourage the people that love to give, but rather let them know we understand if they can’t.)  Also, I feel terrible because I know this year we can not afford to get anything for anyone else either.  (I know everyone is suffering in this economy to some extent right now, but we are basically just struggling to keep our heads above water right now until tax time.)  I actually worry that family members or friends will get their feelings hurt if we do not at least buy for their children.  I know the holiday is not about giving gifts, but I also understand being very “protective” of a child and I know how I feel if I think my daughter has been slighted or forgotten.

I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of people felt this same sort of guilt and pressure around Christmastime.

So what I really want to tell all of you is: please, don’t overextend yourself.  Don’t do more than you are able.  We will understand and the baby is not suffering from lack of books and toys. 

The second thing I want to say is: Please do not feel like we are purposely slighting you or your children, friends and family.  That is not our intention at all.  Know that we love you all and are thinking of you, even though we will probably not see many of you this year, because of how far away from “home” we live now.  

I hope you don’t find this message tacky or inappropriate.  It’s just something that’s been on my mind.  Anyway, this is the first year J* is really, really aware of Christmas (or, “crystal,” as she calls it) and I hope she will find it all magical and happy regardless of where we are and what she gets.  I think she will.

christmas-tree-xmas-balls-decoration-photo

I love you all.  Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas…

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7 responses to “A Short Message to Friends and Family for the Holidays

  1. I do not think this post is tacky. I want to thank you for it. We’re the same way at our house this year, making handmade gifts while doing our best not to slight anyone and I have had the exact same anxieties. Over the past few years, it’s gotten so that I almost hate the holiday season (I’ve actually said that I do in fact, hate it), and due to that, my husband and I decided to take some of the financial pressure off of ourselves this year. Of course, as I said, now I have anxiety about that. Your post is spot-on and I applaud you!

    • Thanks, Devon! I sure hope everyone else feels that way too. One thing I can’t remember if I touched on or not is that in addition to fear of slighting someone or hurting someone’s feelings. there is a feeling of embarrassment, almost shame, for not being able to afford to buy people things, and this is kind of ridiculous given what the holiday is really supposed to be about.

      • I absolutely agree. And believe me, I felt the shame too! Kinda had to kick myself in the butt and say, “Really?!” to make that whole shame thing stop. It’s so not what this season is about. Plus, as I look back on holidays, it’s not the material stuff I remember. It’s the genreal “magic of the season” that I recall with fondness, and I think that’s probably true of a lot of people. :)

        • Well, we know that too, and we still fall prey to the guilt and pressure, so I guess other people do too… That’s what is ridiculous about the whole thing. lol

  2. I’ve been in this place for years now. Luckily for me, I don’t have little ones, and I only have one child in my life who is old enough to understand Christmas. I still feel badly that I can’t get fun things for my sister, or best friend, or even my husband. It’s the joy on their faces I regret not seeing – but actually, I don’t see any face but hubby’s. everyone else is so far away.

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