The holidays come and go each year giving me that eerie sensation of déjà vu. As the days get shorter and the nights get colder, I find myself anticipating all the best things about Christmas and the many wonderful traditions that surround it. It’s that time of year when the wold seems entirely magical.
Every other radio station is playing carols …
Streets and stores are lit up with the most colorful lights and decorations imaginable …
There are Christmas parties almost everywhere …
Sales in the stores …
And Christmas Cards from friends and family who live far away …
I love everything about Christmas! Or do I?
The Best Things About Christmas
1. Choosing a Christmas Tree
Artificial trees may be more economical and even look natural, but they can never smell like the fresh ones. In my family we keep up with this old Christmas tradition of picking our own fresh Christmas tree. So, every year in mid December we start the hunt for the perfect looking tree.
And we never find it.
Our tree is either too short, or too tall. or it has too many branches, or the wrong shape, or it has a crooked tip … But in the end we love our Christmas tree and bringing it home to decorate it is one of the best things about Christmas.
2. Wrapping Gifts
There is something about wrapping gifts that puts me in the Christmas spirit. Choosing the right paper and a pretty ribbon for the package and then placing it under the tree is really pleasing.
3. Cooking Traditional Food
Cooking special food at this time of the year is an old Christmas tradition in Romania which we try to keep up with. I love preparing the traditional Romanian dishes that my mother and grandmother used to make at Christmas. They remind me of my family, of the good times we had around the Christmas table. Christmas is the time when you get to eat all you want. And more than you should!
But Christmas is also the only time of the year when you shouldn’t feel guilty for indulging. Yes, your waist line may get a little thicker, but that’s what New Year’s Resolutions are for, right?!
4. Spending Time With Friends and Family
The best thing about Christmas is spending time with our loved ones. Nothing beats those moments that you share with your family and friends around a home-cooked meal. There is laughter and joy, old and new stories, sometimes a few tears when we reminisce over those who are no longer with us.
But just as there are many wonderful things about Christmas, there are also some that may take the magic away from this holiday.
The Worst Things About Christmas
1. “What Do You Want For Christmas?”
The fist time I was asked this question I thought I didn’t hear it right. What DO I WANT for a gift? I don’t really WANT anything. What I WANT or NEED I can buy for myself at any time of year (luckily!)
A gift is something you receive without asking. It’s not something you deserve, or is owed to you. A gift is a nice thought that another person has for you: “I bought this for you thinking that you may like it.”
I always considered that a gift is supposed to be a surprise intended to please the receiver. If I am telling you what I want, where is the surprise? Why even bother to wrap up that gift since I already know what’s in the package?
I’m always uncomfortable when asked this question because I get the feeling that those who ask me don’t really care what I would like. They just feel the pressure of having to give me a gift and want to get it over with fast and easy. Without having to think too much about it. Telling them “I don’t know” will lead them to believe that I am being difficult, so it’s a very unpleasant situation.
I perfectly understand where the question is coming from. People don’t want to spend money on stuff that you’ll have no use for and will fill up your closets. But that happens because we don’t put any thought into gift giving anymore. We have too many “obligations” and too little time. Which leads me to the next bad thing about Christmas:
Christmas is all about shopping now. People seem to have forgotten the “reason for the season.” Whether you celebrate the birth of Christ or not, using this great holiday for commercial purposes is outrageous.
Christmas stuff started showing up the stores as early as October lately, to encourage people to buy more and more. Shopping for Christmas is extremely expensive. People feel obliged to pick out the perfect gifts for friends, family, and coworkers (seriously?)
3. The Shopping Hell
I think the worst thing about Christmas is the shopping madness. It starts around Black Friday when, in their pursuit of cut-priced goods, people totally loose their common sense. Every weekend after Thanksgiving, the stores swarm with desperate shoppers who run around like crazy, elbowing, arguing, and wrestling to snag a bargain.
Unfortunately, that is also the best time of the year to find a wide variety of merchandise in every store. But traveling on the roads and finding parking around this time of year is a nightmare.
4. The “Merry Christmas” Controversy
Why are we so afraid to say “Merry Christmas” in this country? After all, America was founded as a Christian nation, wasn’t it? And while many other religious faiths coexist peacefully on its territory, the majority of Americans are still Christians.
According to a 2014 study by the Pew Research Center, 70.6% of the adult population identified themselves as Christians. Then why is saying “Merry Christmas”such a huge deal?
The way I see it, if someone tries to say something nice to you, you shouldn’t get upset because they didn’t say quite the way you wanted. They may not know you are an atheist, or a Jew, or a Buddhist.
Personally, I prefer “Merry Christmas,” but I don’t get upset if someone who’s trying to be politically correct wishes me Happy Holidays. Then why should others feel offended if I wish them a Merry Christmas? Just because they don’t celebrate Christmas, it doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be ‘merry.’ Or does it?!