I am not a fan of Christmas.
I never have been. Even when I was a kid I never liked the holiday. The only appeal it had for me was all of the goodies people gave me.
As I grew up and worked various retail jobs, I realized what a crock of shit holiday it was.
It is a relative fact that the public at large are usually at their worst around this time of year. The days leading up to Thanksgiving when you work in a grocery store are abysmal. Doubly so after Thanksgiving if you work in big-box retail.
When you shit on the retail employee because the store that employs said employee ran out of the dried onions for your bullshit green bean casserole or the store doesn’t have the toy that “little Johnny” wants, are you really “putting the ‘Christ’ in Christmas”?
As a father of 3 and a lapsed-Catholic, Christmas time had always been stressful for my wife and I.
She was raised Jehovah’s Witness. As I understand it, people belonging to this religion do not celebrate holidays nor birthdays. I’m not exactly sure what the Witnesses stand to gain from this, maybe it’s some sort of cultural flagellation that they need to march through in order to receive their “riches in Heaven”.
As such, the holidays and birthdays meant a lot to her when our kids were young because she missed out on all of that happy horse-shit.
When our family structure shifted to where my wife was the sole source of monetary support, it became harder on her to make it through Christmas shopping without feeling wiped out and more jaded than when she first started.
This past Christmas was different.
I took the duty of getting presents for the kids away from my wife and I gave it to the kids.
That’s right: I made them buy presents for their siblings.
It was the easiest Christmas ever.
Initially, my sole trepidation was that when I told the kids what was going to happen this year, that I was going to have to listen to a fuck ton of whining, goings-on about how one child dislikes the other child because of such-and-such reason, and the classic “Whyyyyyyyy do I have to do it?”.
All three of them were on board essentially from the get-go.
My son needed a bit of a nudge given the fact that he’s been outnumbered for the past 6 years. I can understand where he’s coming from: it’s tough being the only male in social settings, even when that setting is your own home.
Prior to the shopping trip, I made sure that all 3 of them knew why they were doing the shopping this year: Christmas should be about putting the needs of someone else before their own needs.
The rules for shopping were simple:
- You need to buy at least two things (one for each sibling).
- You need to stay in the $30 dollar and under range.
- All 3 of them were to be taken to the same shopping center.
In the span of a week, this kids and I had Christmas taken care of and my wife was at her most relaxed that I had ever seen her at this time of the year.
As far as the shopping went, the girls were a piece of cake. I suppose that this has something to do with the fact that Women are generally better when it comes to this sort of thing. My son on the other hand needed a bit of extensive guidance because of the aforementioned reasons. I had to remind him a lot that he was shopping for someone else, not himself.
Speaking for myself, the best part of it was watching my youngest (she’s 6) actually think about her siblings and what they might like for a present. By and large, she was the one who really got into what she was doing. It was a real watershed moment for myself as a parent.
Suffice it to say, this is how Christmas is going to be until all 3 of the little assholes move out.
Feel like sharing your “Holiday War Stories”? Scroll back up and let me hear about it!