How the Grinch Saved Christmas
Financially, the holiday season has become a huge burden on Americans’ pockets these past few years, as families struggle to make ends meet during trying economical times. Instead of being a season to look forward to and embrace, people fear it like the plague, knowing they will be forced to spend money they can’t afford to part with on presents for loved ones. Prior to this depression we’ve been in, Christmas had become a time to lay out the big bucks for over the top presents, such as Playstations, fur coats, and yes, even automobiles. Soon thereafter, one by one, people fell into their own struggle, some slower to come to terms with it than others, and eventually families unanimously agreed that they needed to put a stop to the ridiculous spending on gifts. Rules were set, a spending limit was placed, and in some cases, events and gatherings became a substitute for gifts. Families began coming together with simple tokens of appreciation, or no presents at all, the main purpose being to simply enjoy each other’s company, basking in the pleasure of conversation and laughter rather than FedEx-ing the latest Wii game with a “family update” attached. But wait, isn’t coming together what the holiday season is supposed to be about in the first place?
If your family never parted with the spending, and still revolves this special time around the disheartening notion of physical gifting, then it may take remembering a scene from the Dr. Seuss’ classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, to make you appreciate, well, what Christmas is all about. Remember when the Grinch swooped down to Whoville on Christmas Eve? He stole every gift and tree, decoration and ham, in order to take the holiday away from the townspeople he loathed. When residents of Whoville woke up to bare fireplaces and empty living rooms on Christmas morning, they embraced each other anyway, singing in the streets in appreciation for the day itself and those they are blessed with, for it was Christmas they were looking forward to, not the perks came along with it. Where did we go wrong? Isn’t this children’s story the perfect goal as to what mindset we must maintain?
Bratty children may not be able to grasp the idea that they will not receive the latest gadget or gizmo on their favorite holiday, but we must lead by example. For one, my family has made a game out of gift giving, utilizing the “set of rules” to save money, have fun, and enjoy one another’s company. We all participate, young and old, and have made it a tradition to gather around after digging into a glazed ham and laugh and shout during the “White Elephant Gift Exchange.” Heard of it? It’s also referred to as Dirty Santa, Pollyanna, or more descriptively, The Christmas Swap Thingy. Here everyone brings a wrapped gift, setting a fair limit of say, $10 or $20, and each member of the family selects a number from a hat. In our designated order, we then are allowed to choose a new gift from under the tree or steal one someone else has, and it can get feisty! Above all else, the bottom line is this silly game is all about having fun with each other.
This 2011 shopping season is giving hope to America’s economy. In recent totals, it is proven that America is spending 15% more on gifts than last year. Cyber Monday raked in a whopping 1.25 billion dollars, totaling out holiday spending thus far at over 18 billion. While stimulating the economy is important, as is looking up and forward as we dig ourselves out of this financial rut while jobless rates decrease, we must not loose sight of the family oriented traditions we have set in place as we all struggled together. It took so long for us to return to the real meaning of Christmas, that even if the money is there, let’s continue to enjoy one another’s company and not let big spending get in the way.
While it’s obvious gifts still are going to be given, this year put your money towards doing something creative for each family member, friend, and neighbor. Some suggestions that are sure to be a big hit is to load up mason jars with goodies: mini cobblers, personalized spice blends, candied nuts, and homemade granola. Wrap that to stick under the tree so Uncle Johnny and Grandma can fight over it during the “White Elephant Gift Exchange.” We all know Granny will win, but I’m sure she’ll share.
By Caitlin Colford
Posted by Caitlin Colford at 08:52 AM
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