Christmas Gifts–a Tiresome Forced Exchange, or a Joy?

Heather brings out 'The Gas Tank' at the Hangar.
Heather presents “The Gas Tank,” at the Hangar, part of the Wings Empire.

I’ll never ever forget this commercial we used to watch over and over again, for a TV movie about a Christmas when Santa did not come. I remember the dramatic sotto voce, warning us that ‘Christmas is not coming this year.’  It was spooky and after 45 years I still remember that line as if it was yesterday.

Christmas is usually the same every year, but it’s kind of different this year. I and a lot of people aren’t out spending a pile of money on presents. I for one was much more modest this year, no point is a big spend, it’s so hard to think of things that kids or people really need.  I got some gifts for the grandchildren that I think they’ll both enjoy, but it’s a great relief to have my daughter son and all adult relatives out of that exchange again.

On TV the other night we watched an episode of The Middle, and the father is given a pair of sunglasses by a buddy. “They are for you, they’re a gift,” he was told, when he looked with absolute incredulity, wondering why he had been given the gift.  Later on he had high anxiety of the obligation to now buy that guy a gift, so he walks over and pays the guy $45 in cash, just to resolve himself of the exchange.

I don’t feel that way, but I just like it being more simple.  I used to travel down to New York City in December to meet my mother, we’d go out to a fancy lunch and then to a Broadway show. I think we must have seen 12-15 shows, maybe more, since we did it every year.  But I’d go Christmas shopping there, walking through a crowded Macy’s store, trying to check off everyone on my list.  That was then, and now, things are decidedly different. In a good way.