I am not one to get all fired up and write a letter to the editor over anything. Usually when I read the paper, I just read it, think about it and then get on with my day.
This morning, though, I read an article that was entitled "Take the pressure off Santa this year" by Howard Libin - a local columnist who writes about small business management. He's also Jewish and loves to sing Christmas carols. Anyway, he was writing about the people who feel so much pressure to spend, spend, spend for the holidays - who feel that Christmas is ruined if copious amounts of money haven't been spent on loved ones in the form of gifts or entertainment. His column was quite refreshing and points out something that I've espoused for years (being the less-endowed in monetary status in my families). Christmas isn't about gifts or spending as much money in a month as you would in a year of grocery bills. It's about spending time with people you love and recognizing the fact that love is the reason for the season.
I couldn't stop myself. I had to write to Mr. Libin and thank him for speaking my mind.
Mr. Libin -
I just read your article in the Tallahassee Democrat about reflecting on blessings and not so much on the money side of things at Christmas time.
My family works hard - but the things we work hard at, while rewarding in many ways, are not necessarily jobs that bring in a lot of money. Many of us work extra jobs on the side to make ends meet and when Christmas rolls around we all cringe a little because we know we are going to be on the outside looking in when it's time to shop.
A few years ago, my brothers and I had a little pow-wow about Christmas. We were all especially broke that year and we agreed that the only presents to be purchased were for the little kids in the family - and not anything big or extravagant. Just a little something, like a book or matchbox car or stuffed animal.
We did want to do something for our parents, so we all sat down and wrote a story about our favorite Christmas growing up. It was interesting to note that we all had a different Christmas that was our favorite!
Anyway, the Christmas-with-no-Presents was one of the best ever, and we try to keep that spirit every year now. We don't exchange presents; we exchange hugs and company and stories and laughter. And these are the best Christmases ever.
Anyway, thank you for your article. It was a real bright spot in my morning.
I hope Mr. Libin appreciates my appreciation!
UPDATE: He did! Emailed me back and said:
You're welcome! I thought that I was not alone on this!