Tis the season... Blah, blah blah. I realize it's practically blasphemous to say so, but I absolutely hate the Christmas season! The season which is upon us now has metamorphosized into a nerve-racking time of year for most of us. Christmas is a time of what I call 'have-to's'. We have to finish our shopping, wrap the presents, put up the decorations and the tree, and so on and so on. It's become so stressful, it is no longer enjoyable.
As the years pass, the happy memories of childhood Christmas's slowly, sadly fade into obscurity. I used to look forward to the holiday with anticipatory excitement. No I look upon it with dread. Traditional Christmas stories, such as "It's a Wonderful Life" and "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" bemoaned the commercialism that has become of the holiday. The Christmas of today is an even further deterioration of that notion.
Do you know people who do their Christmas shopping early? October? September? Even August? To those early shoppers, it's a stress reliever, but to me it makes no sense. There's no sentiment involved, only the inherent need to get it done. For the procrastinators (like me), waiting until the last minute forces them to deal with mall area traffic, parking lot altercations, long lines, the pressure of finding just the right gift, digging through messy racks of clothes to find the right size, It can be maddening! Whether it's early or last-minute, we all have to' do it.
Another reason for despise the season is all the great sales! It's not fair that the best sales of the year happen when I've got to make purchases for someone else. Why can't I have access to a great sale when I'm ready to buy something for myself. The trouble is, I usually do take advantage of the bargains, which adds even more to the mounting debt that I've already owed, not to mention the debt I've had to' add for this holiday in the first place.
With each year my debt is getting harder and harder to overcome. Living in these times can get quite expensive, and the Christmas season just doesn't help matters. Sometimes I feel as if I'm still paying off last year's purchases, which is probably true. This year, I decided to whittle down what I usually spend on Christmas shopping. I still spent over a thousand dollars. All because I felt I had to.' I really didn't buy too much, but with the cost of goods today, I really had no choice. No matter how hard I tried to curb my spending, my debt will yet rise again. It's a never-ending cycle of spending we've been forced into by the retail juggernaut.
One of my favorite Christmas stories is O. Henry's, "Gift of the Magi." It is a story full of irony, in which the two main characters sell their most prized possessions in order to buy a Christmas gift for each other. The ironic twist is that the gifts were meant to accent the possessions which they no longer had. Even more than one hundred years ago, Christmas had a regretful side. Today, it's as bad, if not worse, than it ever was.
Christmas. Bah, humbug!