Monday, December 14, 2009

Call me Scrooge....

I do not know what it is, but for some reason this year, I am NOT wishing to get anyone gifts for Christmas.

Now I know I have kids and nephews on my side of the family, and Lorrie has nieces and nephews on her side, plus we have our extended families on both sides, all of whom we get gifts for. Lorrie is a far superior gift-selector than I am, and I often will allow her to be "the shopper". But there's still my family gifts and gifts for kids, etc., that need to be purchased, wrapped, hidden, and then placed under the tree Christmas Eve.

Now, mind you, I am not commenting on not liking Christmas, or the festivities of the season. On the contrary, I enjoyed the Open House we hosted last Saturday night, and am looking forward to hosting my mom's side of the family this coming weekend.

But it comes down again to NOT wanting to give presents this year. I am totally clueless as to what to get for everyone and anyone who I usually give gifts for. And my meager talents to create gifts for family members has been woefullly delayed, so I have to fall back upon gifts that are purchased. And those, even if they're well thought out, are not from the heart. Coupled with that is the fact that I really have no clue what to get my wife, my kids, or any of the extended family members. And, frankly, I really don't want anything myself.

So, for this Christmas, this is what I'd really like to give everyone: nothing. No boxes or toys or stocking-stuffers or gifts that will be returned or exchanged, or clothes that don't quite fit, or gift cards for places that might be too far for the people to go to, or might not be their favorite store. Nothing that will be destroyed by the kids within 2 hours after being opened, or the robe that is too purple or the Christmas decoration that simply does not "fit" into the decor of the recipient's house. No kitchen appliances for someone who has a kitchen with all the appliances already. No tools for the handyman who has plenty already, or the non-handyman who wouldn't know what to do with them anyway. Nothing - zip, niente, gifts.

What I'd rather give is simple: just time together. Time to hug and talk and just be family. Time to watch Christmas movies as funny as "Christmas Vacation", or touching as "Christmas Story" or as tear-jerking as "It's a Wonderful Life". I'd like to give time to sit in front of the fireplace and just be warm, drinking hot cider or coca. I'd like to give hugs to my kids that mean "I love you" more than a new toy. I'd like to give my wife a night out so she can dress up and look elegant. I'd like to give my mom time with her grandkids. I'd like to give my in-laws a Christmas decoration (since they LOVE to decorate at Christmas) that they'd look at every year and place in a location of their home, knowing it was given with love, admiration and respect. I'd like to give my brother Jim fishing time, my brother Don more quiet time to be the great dad he is with his sons. I'd love to give my mom's cousins the gift of time with us, more than just once-a-year. I'd like to give to my nephews on my side something of their grandfather's - maybe an old tool - that they could look at when they are older and say "Uncle John gave this to me. It was grandpa's".

For me, no gifts. Nothing tangible. For me, this Christmas is about and has been about my family, our home decorated, and about the Christ Child, born in a stable and laid in a manger.

Merry Christmas.....

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Here I am, getting ready for Thanksgiving 2009. We're hosting it at our house, which we've done before. Last year we were on our way to my wife's grandparent's when we were in an accident, 10 minutes from our house. My wife's Yukon was totaled, and her wrist was broken. A year later she still has occasional pain and signs of arthritis, but she's healed.

As I look at this Thanksgiving, I have much to be thankful for. Even though finances are tight, I am thankful that the kids are all happy and healthy. I am thankful that I do have a job in a secure company when so many are unemployed. I am thankful that we are still in our house, when so many are going to spend this holiday at someone else's house, or in an apartment that they rent. I am thankful that my wife is striving to achieve success with her photography, not just for financial reasons, but she is more content now than I've ever seen her. I am thankful for living in southern California, where I don't have to deal with frigid temperatures or excessive summer humidity. I am thankful that I live in a country where we can freely voice our disagreements with what our government does (albeit they don't listen). Finally I am thankful for my extended family on both sides, who have become in many instances friends.

Happy Thanksgiving.