Christmas Differences

Seems like this close to a year, I should be updating Retirement Diaries. On the other hand, isn’t everyone doing the same thing? Staying home? Lots of people dying every day. It’s depressing. We’ve lost several in our Michigan community. Out of 100 or so people, five died within a few weeks. I’ve had to make an effort to stay upbeat, not let fear or depression swamp me. It’s hard. I think it is for most of us.

Al and I have always thought differently about Christmas. It was so difficult in the early years of our marriage. My mother made our Christmas mornings magical so I enjoyed everything about it and Al didn’t share my enthusiasm. He didn’t like the commercial aspects of the holidays. But he never woke up to a living room filled with toys not just under the tree but set up like little scenes. For me, there was the little table and chairs, with a doll in one of the chairs and the Easy Bake oven on the table. Everything sparkled. One year there was a guitar for one of my brothers and a drum kit for the other one.

I didn’t know that having a special Christmas with lots of toys was commercial. I didn’t think about that. But now I see what Al means and it doesn’t matter to me that we don’t give each other loads of gifts. But it mattered to me when my boys were little. Al and I had very different childhoods and it took a few years to understand each other and all the various family traditions. We got to know each other better just by talking it out over the course of ten or twenty years. LOL I’m not even kidding. But we’re fine now and I don’t expect him to have loads of presents for me under the tree.

Many years we’ll think of one big item that we both want and we’ll buy that. Some years he surprises me with a special piece of jewelry. This year, trying to declutter the house before putting it up for sale in the spring, my mind has been hammering home to me that I have way too much stuff. It wasn’t always that way, but somehow I have about twenty boxes of Christmas decorations. I’ve sorted them into donate/trash/keep piles. Then I had to do two piles, one for Christmas in Florida this year and one for Christmas in Florida when we buy our new home. Because our condo is cute, but it’s little.

We are leaving in a week and I’m excited despite Covid. I still love Christmas. So far we have donated two large loads of Christmas things, including a tree and ornaments. I used to shop at thrift shops and Salvation Army so I’m always happy to donate things I can’t use anymore, thinking “someone will like this tree.” I tell myself a little story about how there’s a person or a couple or a family who don’t have money for a tree and they happen to spot my donated tree for $5 or whatever the price. And they’re thrilled to take it home and hang ornaments on it, wondering what kind of person gives away such nice things.

Very early in our marriage I would say to Al “I can’t believe you don’t like Christmas! Who doesn’t like Christmas?” and he’d say “I like Christmas, but I don’t like the commercial aspects of it.” And I would roll my eyes, thinking he was Scrooge. But now that our life overflows with so much stuff, I see his point.


  1. I understand both sides. When we were little, Christmas was a big time for us. We didn’t get much the other days of the year, besides school shopping. When my girls were little we (just me, actually! Ha!) went overboard, too, even though they got plenty year round. As I age, I don’t want any presents, and giving presents is stressful—most everyone I know has everything they need (and want), and I am not a shopper at all. We have a simple Christmas, but I spend days decorating. I love the atmosphere of Christmas and winter. I loathe the commercialism of the holiday. I am also decluttering and donating old decorations.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m a lot like Al when it comes to this topic. I’m glad you two have come to see each other’s points of view over the years. That’s excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. For some unknown reason, WordPress will not accept my password so I can comment online so I’ll comment just to you. Christmas this year is a bit depressing. All the family traditions are unworkable if we want to stay safe. This past weekend was always the Saturday I went with my brother, Jim and his kids and grandkids to Dinner with Santa at Greenfield Village. Annually after dinner thru wind, freezing rain, or snow, we bravely made the long walk to see Santa and his reindeer at the other end of the Village. This year no Santa, dinner, or reindeer. Many other celebrations will be cancelled including Christmas Day. Instead, I am donating to many charities, hoping that my gifts to them will feed a family, or buy toys, or let someone adopt a pet. As the lyrics to my favorite Christmas song go, “Someday soon we all will be together if the fates allow…” Until then, I will make a plan to get that vaccination. Next year…

    Liked by 1 person

  4. The only time I really enjoyed Christmas was when my children were young and I could create the magic. Now my daughter is a vegan, gluten-free, keto, anti-sugar activist and my son is practically Bernie Sanders … it’s a little bit harder.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.