Back in grade twelve, the graduating class of my high school, Sardis Senior Secondary School, performed a pretty cool version of the Grinch Who Stole Christmas for the entire school. I was kind of in the choir, even though we didn’t really sing. My friend Landy was actually the grinch, and he looked pretty hilarious wearing those green tights.
The title of this post is a reference to something the grinch says near the end when he ponders the real significant of Christmas. Without a doubt, Christmas is a hard season for a lot of people. The commercialization of the season puts a lot of pressure on families to buy gifts, often well outside their budgets. Back when I was a kid, people would compare their gifts at school and see who got the better load. Obviously as an adult, you come to realize that Christmas is really about spending time with your family. But kids don’t always see it that way unfortunately.
My family used to do gift exchanges on Christmas. Given that my parents are split, my extended family is rather large, and buying for everyone used to be not only time intensive, but also a fairly substantial financial burden as well. There was a point in time about six or seven years ago when it became apparent that spending $1,000 on gifts each year, many of which probably weren’t really wanted at the end of the day, was really a silly thing to do. So while a few of us still buy for each other (mainly for the kids),we all decided to forgo the presents and simply use Christmas as a time to get together, have a few laughs, watch a few movies, and maybe have a few rum and eggnogs by the fire.
Up until recently, we used to try and fit in three or four dinners at various locations over the holidays. My mom would have a dinner. My dad might have a dinner. My sister might have a dinner, and my uncle might have another dinner. It’s great to catch up with everyone and spend time together with your family, but spending four days bouncing between houses and watching how burnt out people get preparing all those massive meals got a bit too much. When I used to fly home from Ottawa, I remember often I’d head back home at the end of the holidays completely worn out from all the visiting I ended up doing with everyone.
This year we’ve decided to simply do one large dinner together on boxing day, something I’m quite looking forward to, and something we’ve never really done in my family before. That’s not to say I won’t see my family on Christmas eve or Christmas (I’ll probably passively jaunt around town visiting people here and there), but I think those visits will be that much more enjoyable without the pressures of cooking meals or having to worry about where everyone needs to be later that day or early the next day.