Minimal Holidays

It’s that time of year again.  It has somehow creeped/slammed into my life before I quite realized it.  In years past I would be ready.  Gifts bought and wrapped.  Some gifts I might even accumulate during the year and save for the Christmas season.  These past two years have been a little different.  Christmas is still one week away, but hear me out on this one.

I will readily admit that last year I did have at least one gift bought months in advance.  That was a fluke, and I have started to shift my way of thinking about the holiday without meaning to.

Instead of items, I am focusing more on value and experiences.  My 14 year old cousin will still get her gift card since that’s all she really wants.  My other gifts have shifted.  I have somehow become the person in the family to supply the fun at the holidays, and this Thanksgiving game was “Exploding Kittens”.  I assure you that no kittens were harmed in the playing of this game.  Previous holidays centered around “Cards Against Humanity”, (always a crowd-pleaser).  After this year’s game, my cousin said “I’ve been thinking about getting this game for myself”, so I got it for her.  It was less about the physical game (which is a small box with playing cards inside) than about the fun times she can have from playing  it with family and friends.

My father actually got his gift in November 2016, but this present was costly enough to cover Christmas/Birthday/New Year/Easter/Groundhog Day/you name it.  He is a fan of NFL and the Carolina Panthers, yet has never been to a football game, and could not afford to go himself.  I got tickets on the home team side, 50 yard-line, 6 rows back.  That was an experience neither of us will forget (never mind that I am a Green Bay fan – Go Pack Go!).

This year?  He decided to up-and-go-all-“I wanna do something artsy” which has never been his M.O.  Instead of sports, I took him to see a local legend of a play.  A musical, called A Christmas Carol, with the lead role being played by the same man for 43 years running.  It changes every year.  It is funny and incorporates current local and national events into every production.  We had great seats, and I don’t remember hearing him laugh that much in a long time.  I also treated him to dinner from a Thai restaurant, a type of food he has never eaten.

I got more out of taking him to a play than I ever did from buying him a CD or movie, and this is something he’ll be able to remember and talk about for years to come.

The holidays have, in general, now shifted over to the family cooking and eating together.  Experience each other’s company and coming together…THAT is what the holidays are really about.

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