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Christmas has come and gone, I’m about 50 lbs. heavier (and counting) and here I am trying to play catch up with my blogging.  Today was Christmas day and I spent it watching Christmas movies, eating, and lounging. Heaven is what today was. I just felt so relaxed and the best part of it all was that I didn’t feel guilty for not doing anything. Okay, I did feel a bit guilty for not posting anything, I did open up the laptop a few times. But dammit those ladies in “Steel Magnolias” get me every time, we will not even   steel magnoliasstart with the Hallmark channel. I’m a sucker for their Christmas movies.

I woke up to a beautiful spread that my Uncle Eddie had prepared for Tio and I. I am so spoiled, I know. As we ate, we laughed and talked about the night before. Christmas Eve was awesome! We had family, friends, food and more food. My older brother came over with his kids and wife, my mom and little brother were here, and my friend Sandra came over. We had so much fun watching the kids play Jenga and playing “Heads Up.” Watching the kids open up their presents, opening up my presents. Yes, I love opening up presents, who doesn’t? Let’s keep it real.

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I received everything from books to purses, baked goods and journals, chocolates, wines, and gift cards. Loved it all!

Well…

love actuallyAs “Love Actually” taught us we should say the truth on Christmas, there was one gift that I was not all too keen with Luckily, my mother is willing to swap; since, the gift that was given to me seems more appropriate for her age and vice versa. I totally understand that this might sound completely ungrateful, but I’m simply being honest. Furthermore, we’ve all felt like this. You know what I mean, the fake smile, followed by the fake “oh, wow I love it!” Because contrary to what you might think, we do not want to hurt the ‘givers’ feelings; moreover, the last thing we want to do is seem ungrateful.

I know I’m not the only one that feels like this, but I might the only one saying it with my outside voice. bad-Christmas-present-11

Sometimes, all you can do is wonder: “what were they thinking?” or “do they even know me?” You see the gift that I was not too thrilled about did not come as a surprise. I’ve gone through the same routine every Christmas for about 5 consecutive years. Yes, my dears 5 years! The gifts I’ve received from this individual have ranged from pajamas that were too large, body lotions that didn’t smell so good, slippers that were too small (they were meant for a small girl with a size 5 shoe size),  and the purse received this year is nice but not for me.

I’m grateful for every single gift I get; however, most people really put some thought into the presents they give out. They either know what that person needs, likes, or at least hear or reads when a person gives out the-not-so-timid: “If someone is wondering what to get me for Christmas this would be great….” Facebook posts. That’s how I got the two books I wanted this Christmas.

The sad part is that you would think this person would know me, they’ve known me all my life. It’s sad to think that there’s been some years that I’ve actually returned the presents. But I have, I would rather get me something that I know I’ll enjoy than have something that I know I will never use. If I don’t return it, I usually end up donating or re-gifting the presents. What? I see nothing wrong with re-gifting, if I’m not going to use it why not give it to someone else that will? Maybe I’m ungrateful but never wasteful, don’t get it twisted!

What I don’t understand is why some people believe they have to give a gift. I strongly believe that this feeling of responsibility towards gift giving is what leads to crappy gifts. Because you don’t really think about the person that you are giving something to, you just want to cross that name off of your list.

I don’t know maybe it’s just me. I love to think ahead of time of who I’m getting something for and what I’m getting them. I play close attention to things they mention and things they like. I tend to make things for them or if I go the store bought route I make sure it’s something that really identifies with the ‘receiver.’  Sometimes I even ‘jazz-it-up’ a bit. I might be overzealous but this is how I work, if I’m not filling it sorry buddy “We just ain’t that close.”

I love Christmas. The smells, the lights, the music, but most of all the joy that most people seem to have around this time. Maybe its just me, maybe I’m the one that sees everyone a little happier and merrier, because everything about Christmas makes me that way. Plus, I tend to stay away from the malls so I never really see the ugliness caused by holiday shopping. Suckers!

Yes, my dears I give gifts without stepping one foot in the mall. I hate the mall, I’m not big on shopping either; unless, it’s a bookstore.  My God, I can stay at a bookstore forever or Michael’s, love me that craft store!

Does everyone get a gift from me? No, but everyone might get a Christmas card from me. With a mushy note letting them know I’m thinking about them during the holiday season. I do the same on birthday’s or I try to. I tend to buy cards and never send them. I really have to work on that, the birthday cards are piling up.

I hope this post doesn’t make me sound as an ungrateful spoiled brat or makes me out to be someone that only cares about the gifts during this time. Because you would be so baby jesusincredibly wrong, but I mean wrong! I do believe “Jesus is the reason for the season” remember I did say I was spiritual; so of course, I believe in Jesus and not Santa Claus.

What? I’m serious and I’m not embarrassed by this either. I don’t know why I would be, but just in case you were curious, I’m not. I was asked by a coworker if we did “the whole holiday shebang with Santa too?” To which I replied “No, we do baby Jesus!” I could tell that some people didn’t know whether to laugh, smile, or look away. I continued: “…you see we put out the nativity scene with the exception of baby Jesus, we wait until midnight on the 25th to bring him out. We celebrate Christmas eve, the kids stay up until 12 am which is when we sit by the tree, my Tio will bring out baby Jesus and place him between Mary and Joseph in the manger. Then we open our gifts”

In a country such as the US, it’s hard to uphold certain traditions celebrated by your family in other parts of the globe. I’m just glad we held on to this one. I think it is a beautiful tradition and I will continue to do it with my children (or cats) in the future.

SantaI love the fact that we were not raised with this whole notion of Santa Claus, it just seems a bit deceitful. You guessed it, we didn’t grow up with the tooth fairy or the bunny rabbit either. Your tooth fell out because you’re getting big and should not be awarded for something that is part of life. I mean if that would be the case I would get a quarter each time I went poop. The whole fairy thing doesn’t make sense to me, I will not be practicing that with my kids. You want money kid? Get a job, no I’m not paying you for chores either, you live here too so the least you can do is clean. Oh yea, I’m going to be that type of mom. I might change my mind when the kid is a teenager, but that’s still debatable; especially, because there comes a point when as a parent you feel guilty for hating your teenager. Let the parenting books try to deny that, we all know it’s true.

For Easter we focused on the spiritual meaning of the holiday versus the chocolate bunnies and colored eggs. My mom was not all that bad, I did get an Easter basket, but we didn’t go all out as some people do.

Some might state that Jesus can also be considered a figment of our imagination a false entity, to which I reply “Live and let live!” If it works for us, then so be it.

I’ll explain why I’m okay with the spiritual end of Christmas versus the whole Saint Nick and his reindeers thing. First, let’s get things straight I don’t boycott the old fat guy or his pal’s, I just don’t give them credit for any of the gifts we get. Our parents and loved ones got them for us, they worked extremely hard for them. Why would I think it to be okay to give some white guy credit for them? Unless, that white guy is my brother-in-law nobody else but baby Jesus is getting credit for anything.

The breakdown is simple: We work hard for the things and in our lives, we are grateful to the Universe for that job we have. We are grateful to God for the health we are granted that allows us to work and provide for our loved ones. We are grateful to God for our loved ones and the things we have: food, clothes, roof, etc. It’s a cycle, we are grateful to One individual or entity and it’s not Santa Claus.

I believe the people that get dressed up for their kids and go the distance with the whole Saint Nick bit are awesome, that takes a lot of heart to go the distance. I admire it, but I wouldn’t practice it. I wouldn’t burst the bubble of a kid that believed in it either, I’m not that mean. Plus, I volunteered at a city Christmas Festival helping kids and their families take a picture with Santa. I loved watching the kids react to Santa, some where scared out of their minds as they kicked and screamed wanting to get as far away as possible, while others just couldn’t get enough of the guy.

At the end no matter what you do or how you celebrate the holiday season doesn’t matter. What matters is the joy, love, and compassion you have and share with others around you. Yes, even with yourself. As cliche as it may sound, I really do wish people would keep these feelings and mindset all through the year. I know some try but life gets in the way, but instead of diets for the new year why not try a Negative-free diet or a victimless-diet, or good deed’s routine or my personal favorite “bitch-free diet?” This one is simple, you don’t complain about anything, no bitching whatsoever allowed and when people ask how you’re doing instead of reading the laundry list of all the things that have gone “wrong” in your life, simply state “I’m grateful!” Might be tough at first, but can you imagine all the bitterness we might lose?

So let’s recap what we’ve learned this Christmas kids:

    1. Don’t give people crappy gifts. If you don’t know what that person is into go with gift cards or to play it safe nothing. Being known as someone that gives nothing on the holidays is way better than being known as the person that gives crappy gifts.
    2. No white guy in a red suit is getting credit for my gifts.
    3. Teenagers suck…but we love them anywayteenagers
    4. Your tooth fell out, you didn’t find a cure for cancer. I need my quarter for laundry kid.
    5. Bitch-free diet should be #1 on your resolution list for 2014.
    6. Kindness and compassion should not be worn as a Christmas sweater, they are more like an LBD for day and night all year long!
    7. Christmas rocks!

Merry Christmas my dears!