There are some things I have never heard said around the holidays:
- “Gee, I’m so glad my sperm donor forgot Christmas again this year!”
- “Wow, I’m so glad I got this bloody nose! You’re the best!”
- “Could you forget about me again this Christmas? I’m glad I’m so unimportant!”
We often get wrapped up in what we can get them, feeling like failures when we can’t give what they want (if we can give anything at all), or feeling ashamed when we don’t get the right things. What we forget, more often than not, is what is very important to give in the first place: The love and appreciation for that person, warts and all.
Your kids and family members may remember that you got the name tags mixed up and give Billy a Barbie and Sally a football, or that year where the best you could afford is new underwear. They may remember that you got them a guitar when they wanted a pony, or a Nintendo 64 when they really wanted a Playstation. What they will remember, regardless of age or gender, regardless of situation, is what you do and how you treat them. They may hurt that year when you get them the wrong thing, but they’ll hurt a lot worse if what they remember of you is painful memories.
There will be plenty of people, kids and adults, who will not get gifts or cards, who will basically be forgotten Christmas Day. There will be plenty of people, spouses and kids, who will be abused. There will be too many whose parents chose not to be a part of their lives, not because they went and did something honorable like fought for our country, but because of fear, anger, hatred, chose not to be there. You may not get the reception you want from your loved one, but they will appreciate you far more for putting the effort forward and doing something good than they will anything bad that you give them.