Holiday anxiety

It's said to be the season

for caring and sharing,

better to give than to receive

is what we want to perceive.

But Santa brings the presents

and that's what we teach,

too selfish and materialistic

to practice what we preach.

It's the most expensive gifts

that bring the biggest smiles,

fuck living a simple

moderate lifestyle.

So afraid of rejection

and thirsty for attention,

we're quick to buy


What better way to

spread Christmas cheer,

than buying presents you'll

be paying off for a year?

Money isn't everything but

we've made it such a necessity,

in our capitalistic

driven society!

I've always had this indifference around the holidays. Almost like I split into two different people. It gives me such conflicting feelings. I'll start out with what I like about Christmas so it's not just an anti Christmas, holiday bashing post.

I love the lights people and communities put up around this time, it just makes everything shiny and pretty. I love driving around at night just looking at all the Christmas lights. I love the smell of real Christmas trees, almost every year I walk through Christmas tree lots just to smell the trees. I used to love baking cookies with my Granny. It was our tradition my whole life, as a child and an adult, I never missed our annual 3 day Christmas cookie baking marathon. That tradition ended last year when she died. But the memories still make me smile, I can even still smell the cookies and the fudge and the candy when I think about it. I have to watch Elf and a Christmas Story every year. For the most part, I hate Christmas movies, but every now and then (only right before Christmas) I'll get the urge to watch one or two.

For me, someone who already deals with anxiety and depression on a daily basis, the holidays just make me want to crawl in a cave and hide away until it's all over. It's been like that since I was a teenager (I think). I kind of stopped caring about Christmas a long time ago. I've never really been one of those people who expects things from others. To be honest, I've always felt weird getting presents. My parents never had a lot of money but they always did their best to provide for us and try to give us good Christmases and birthdays. Even as a kid, I never wanted them to feel bad if they couldn't afford something so I never liked asking for things. It was always difficult for me to make a Christmas list. Also, my birthday is right after Christmas so my presents were always combined. And that was completely fine with me.

I stress out about giving gifts in general but it's worse at Christmas time. Just the thought of going to a crowded store and having to be around so many people, drive around looking for somewhere to park and stand in line forever sometimes gives me a panic attack. I also get anxiety about whether they're going to like what I get them or not. What if I waste my time and money buying something they don't even like or want. Sometimes I think why even bother buying presents at all? But then I'll be known as the Grinch who doesn't like Christmas. I think that's the one good thing about being unemployed right now is that I won't have to deal with the dam Secret Santa give exchange. I hated that so much! I hated that they would pressure you into it. I hated every time I got stuck with a person I had no idea what to buy for. I hated standing in a circle exchanging gifts while everyone watched. So glad I don't have to deal with that this year.

I think what I've grown to hate the most, is the meaning we've given to Christmas. We're taught that it's a time for caring about others, sharing and giving and appreciating what we have. But then we crowd the stores looking to buy all the latest, most expensive gifts for each other and ourselves. Which, in my mind, goes against the whole meaning of Christmas. I know I'm going to sound like a typical middle aged person right now but, back in my day parents didn't spend hundreds (or thousands) of dollars on Christmas presents for their kids. At least not your everyday middle class working parents. I know it's different with rich people. But nowadays, kids are asking for $1000 phones, $800 game consoles, some teenagers even expect cars! I honestly don't think I know anyone who's parent's or significant others (for that matter) bought them a car.

What ever happened to the saying, "It's the thought that counts," our obsession with material things has gotten so out of hand. I've seen kids actually cry and throw tantrums because they weren't happy with what they got for Christmas. We're teaching our kids to value money and things over people, knowledge, skills, experience, etc. We're actually putting a price tag on love and affection, telling them that happiness and gratitude can be bought. But what does say for those less fortunate? If you need money and things to be happy but you don't have enough money to buy those things then what? You don't deserve to be happy?

I don't know when it became ok for people to go broke or into debt buying presents or why we continue to allow it. And I'm not saying we shouldn't buy expensive things for anyone at all. But, I think, we need to get back to a place where people appreciate kind gestures and and care more about things that don't involve money. They say, "Time is money," so when someone is spending time with you, whether it's a phone conversation, hanging out at the park, helping you fix something around the house, or just watching a movie or listening to music, that time it takes to do those things is valuable as well. People are so busy, working and struggling and just trying to get by that they sometimes don't even have time for something as simple as replying to a text message or having a conversation to catch up. Those things matter, those things count, especially with everything going on in the world today.

We're living through a pandemic. So many people are out of work, homeless, starving, dying! People are losing their businesses. Some are having to decide whether they're going to spend their money on rent or food. Pay your rent and go hungry or buy groceries and risk getting evicted. Mental health issues and suicide are on the rise. Food pantries can't even keep enough food in stock for all the people who need it. Now is not the time to be expecting expensive gifts. Now is the time to be coming together and helping each other get by. Now is the time to be showing appreciation to your parents for doing the best that they can to provide for you. Appreciate the fact that you still have a roof over your head, a bed to sleep in, clothes to wear, food to eat. Because those basic human rights have all of a sudden become luxuries and there's millions of people around the world right now who don't have any of those.

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