One week from today is Christmas, and I haven't even really started shopping. I don't think I'm going to. Does that make me a Grinch, or worse yet, Scrooge? I don't think so. Not when you consider Christmas 2006.
A year ago, I hadn't yet started working. It had been over a year since I had a full-time job. I had been hired to do the job I currently hold (yay!) but I was not slated to start until January 8. Needless to say, the money was tight. So I made most of my gifts. It was the most enjoyable, meaningful, and heartfelt Christmas in memory.
Because of that experience, my entire approach has changed. I am not caught up in the incessant need to buy something for everyone I've ever met. Don't get me wrong, I have enjoyed picking things up here and there for the people I love, but I haven't been inside a mall since early November. (I will, however, be going on Saturday. Wanna come along?) I want to enjoy the magic; I do not want to purchase it.
That realization seemed to wake the Ghost of Christmas Past. At Christmastime with Christopher, the season was greeted with a list. Now, I never felt I had to fulfill the list, but the list was daunting. The items stayed on his list, year after year, until they were received. A computer. A video game system. Oh, there were smaller items, too, and many of them. I remember thinking it was a good thing we didn't have children, because I was already buying for a really big one.
Our final year together, Christmas 2005, I had recently been let go from my job. And still, I had the list. Between Christmas and his birthday (in January) I purchased every item on that list. Finally, I had fulfilled his every wish.
Clearly, that left him with no reason to stay.
So I approach Christmas with this strange amalgam of melancholy, nostalgia and fear. But there is also the deep feeling of peace that comes from knowing that everyone I love wants only one thing from me this Christmas ... my time. It is enough for the people in my life to have me in their midst. Anything more is simply a beautifully-wrapped bonus.