Well, well, well it’s that time of year, ah-gain. Time to drive ourselves absolutely batty running to and fro trying to find the “perfect” gift for the loved ones in your life. Not to mention attempting to get all of the work that you need to finish before the end of year. See all of your friends/co-workers/clients/squeeze-in-another-soul-cycle-before-you-leave-for-your-parents-house-workout for a few days only to repeat the aforementioned once you get to your parent’s house.
You think you will power down sometime between December 28 and January 2 to try to get your life together before you look up and it’s July 2016. And if you are like me, self-employed and working on several different projects and clients at the same time, you have neglected a multitude of personal and professional needs like transitioning your fall wardrobe over to the winter one; sorting and discarding loads of mail; client billing; cleaning house including blinds, curtains, base boards, donating all the unnecessary crap you bought and didn’t need over the year. To say nothing of trying to clear some mental space to think, dream and manifest what you want for the New Year.
So in effect that time off will really be a “working” vacation. And again, if you’re self-employed like me, that is not a paid vacation per se. So every day you don’t work, you don’t get paid. For those reasons, I opted not to travel to my parent’s home in Alabama this year. It will mark only the 2 time in my adult life that I have missed Christmas. I was just too exhausted and overwhelmed in October to make the necessary travel arrangements, which usually like a scene out of the 1987 classic Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Not to mention the shear expense of the travel on top of the expected presents for way to many family members.
Unlike my fellow spinster blogger Camille who wrote about the joys of picking the perfect gift, I have effectively put the kibosh on giving and receiving presents for the holidays. In fact, I’ve been trying to get the gift exchange killed at Christmas for years in lieu of a family trip somewhere warm and beachy, but my Mom out the kibosh on that.
I’m the oldest of six kids from a blended family. Three of the six siblings have kids – so there are six nieces and two nephews, plus two much younger siblings from the other side of the family. One of whom is expecting their first child. In addition to that, there are two godchildren, and a dozen other kids from close relatives and friends that are too countless to name, so I am officially opting out. None of these little crumb snatchers need ANY more toys, clothes, gadgets or electronics. I can confidently say we are indeed all, very blessed to have everything we need.
And forget exchanging gifts with friends. I nearly had a mild coronary when my dear friend Daphne texted me for my mailing address and in the same text thread mentioned she was Christmas shopping. I panicked thinking that she might be trying to get me a gift and texted her back right away saying “Please tell me you’re not buying me a gift?! Only cute holiday cards accepted at my house.” To which she responded “Lmao no ur not getting a gift!!”. I texted “Whew” back. Honestly, after nearly 20 years of friendship and both of us probably having too much stuff in general, we clearly know there’s absolutely no need for presents. Plus, there is literally nothing that I need, though there’s stuff I want like a pair of Louboutins, even though I only really wear flats now, and the new Jaguar though I have a perfectly nice car that I drive about three times a week to move it to the other side of the street for alternative-side street parking. Again, not things I need and can certainly live without.
The only things I want for Christmas aren’t material in nature. I want the world to be a safer, more loving and inclusive place for my brown nieces and nephews to grow up in a world free and safe profiling, prejudice and racism. I want my friends, family and co-workers to be able to attend a boring holiday Christmas party and not worry that some nutcase with a senseless religious or political ax to grind, will make it their last party. I want a world where people don’t prey on children, women and the disenfranchised and less fortunate. So if Santa Claus or someone could gift wrap those and add a shiny red bow for me, it would be a Merry Christmas indeed.
So call me Scrooge if you want but there will be no presents from me to anyone this year, except to tell and show all my loved ones know how important they are to me (something I hope that I’ve been doing all year). I’ll make donations to my favorite charities Kiva; Bed Stuy Campaign Against Hunger; Red Cross; Stephen Siller Tunnel 2 Towers Foundation; Children’s Rights and Safe Horizon because the people that these organizations serve DO need those basic things that we all take for granted.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.