I hated Christmas. It didn't happen overnight. As a young child, I remember having a wonderful time.
Christmas eve the whole clan would meet at my grandparents. All my cousins were there and we had a blast. The food was terrific, laughter rang out, and we kids ate candy and chased each other well into Christmas day. Funny thing, I remember the fun, but barely remember what I got for gifts.
Once my grandparents passed on, the big family Christmas get together faded away. For a couple years we tried to have it at my house. Quite a few of the family showed up the first year, fewer the second, and we didn't even try the third. Seems we live too far out in the woods. To be fair, navigating country roads, especially after a drink or two, is not what people want to do at Christmas.
The whole gift thing stressed me out. Always hated to shop, and I hated getting the wrong things for people.
Really got to hate Christmas music. There are only so many Christmas carols a person is supposed to hear in a lifetime. One summer during my teen years I worked at a place called Santa's Village. In that one summer I heard my lifetime allotment of Christmas music. To make matters worse, my wife absolutely loves Christmas music. She'll play it in July. It's enough to trigger PTSD from my Santa's Village days.
Then I had a favorite uncle die just before Christmas. To anyone who's ever lost a loved one during this time of year, you have my deepest sympathies. It's hell.
Funny thing is, the best Christmas the kids remember is the one when we had no money at all. Everyone stopped stressing about gifts -they knew right off the bat not to expect much. We all relaxed and had a good time.
This year, once again, money's tight. Not desperate, but tight. My family is scattered to the four winds. With some, we celebrated early. With others, we'll celebrate after the 25th. As for Christmas itself, it'll be with my wife, one daughter, her boyfriend, and a couple other friends. Pretty low key, but I'm actually looking forward to it. There's little money for gifts this year, so no one's stressing about it. Sounds fine to me.
Heck, I'm even letting my wife play Christmas music on the radio.
Merry Christmas everybody!