This is not a post about how the economy is cutting into my Christmas spirit. It’s not the crowds at the mall giving me the bah-humbugs either; although, they certainly don’t help any. No, my shopping grumpiness comes more from all the uncertainty and uneasiness around who all we have to buy for these days.
Dinner with some friends brings panic as I wonder if they’ll be bringing a gift. Then a rush of trying to find something to take with us we can give them that’s not too big in case they don’t bring anything, but doesn’t leave us totally empty-handed if they do.
Teachers, counselors, assistants to teachers, gymnastics instructors … just how many of the mulitude of people that interact with our children are we obligated to give some sort of token this year? Do you buy for your manager at work? What if they buy for you?
Luckily I don’t live somewhere like New York because the whole holiday tipping thing would really stress me out. It’s easy for me to see how a little extra something for our cleaning lady is appropriate, but would you believe the guy who delivers our daily paper spent money for offset printing on glossy paper cards trolling for tips that he tucked into our paper not just once, but three times?!
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not a total holiday Scrooge. I love the Christmas season for its decorations and music, the way it brings friends and family together, the old and new traditions. One of my favorite new traditions is decorating a gingerbread house with my girl. This is our third year to do it and I’m happy to say we improve each year.
I honor Christmas because God gave us the gift of his Son; and while Santa is a fun way to celebrate that ultimate gift with our children, I do wonder if the wise men were really so wise? Did they have any foresight into the fact that their gold, frankincense and myrrha would these thousands of years later morph into iTunes gift cards, Bath and Body Works sets and hastily filled tins of cookies?