I like so many things about the Christmas season; the lights and pretty trees, a special happy day with my family; a sense of unity and peace; seasonal foods; going to Christmas Eve mass at the UU church and singing Silent Night with all the congregation, everyone holding a lit candle; the memories of Christmases past. I like the Christmas spirit, the ambience and foundational intent of the holiday.
I do, though, find the pressure and expectation to show my love for other people through gifts and the spending of money to be genuinely and sometimes even intensely painful. I love and care for so many people and I want them to know how much I love and care for them, I want my people to feel my affection for them, to feel happiness, yet I think I prefer showing those feelings through words, actions, little gestures, and I wish it were enough, for all of us. It is difficult, stressful, to be expected to try to find objects every year that convey our feelings. It leaves one vulnerable to feeling anxious that they did not adequately display their care. I hate knowing that other people feel that same painful pressure to do the same for me. It is not necessary to give me items; I know that they love me, because they show me that they love me all the rest of the year.
I wish we could somehow break this particular expectation of Christmas. To change the tradition from, "let us display our love for each other through items" to "let us enjoy each other's company, the spirit of unity and peace and Christmas together, and perform small gestures of affection to each other" on this day.