I think that the older we get the harder the holidays get. Or the more meaningful they become, in turn making them harder, especially when it comes to gifts. For me, it’s twice as difficult because my birthday is exactly a week before Christmas. So I have people asking me “what do you want for your birthday? What do you want for Christmas?” And year after year it gets harder and harder for me to answer that question. Because what I really want is not something you can buy in a store and wrap in a bow.
My birthday falls in this really awkward time period. Back in grade school, while most students got to celebrate their birthday at school with their friends and hand out treats to their classmates and teachers, I never got to do that because my birthday always fell during Christmas break. The same thing happened when I went to college, I never really celebrated my birthday with my friends because we were all on break and in different places.
So finally, not in school, when someone asks me what I want for my birthday I always think to myself “people to spend it with”. Of course my family. And I do have some amazing friends who will go out of their way to make that happen for me. It is hard not to be around the people I love who love me back but I have my best friends who live hours and states away who may not be around but will think about me and do whatever they can to make that day special to me.
Sure, unwrapping presents is fun. I think that parents, no matter how old their kids are, still get a thrill watching them walk down the stairs Christmas morning, or walk in the house, towards the tree and unwrap a gift. But all I really want for Christmas is to not be afraid to walk outside after dark, I want the wars to be over, I want there to be a cure for cancer, I want friends to stop dying young, and to stop seeing people I care about heartbroken, I want unconditional love and commitment, I want people to stop tearing each other apart and see them come together again, I want women to stop hating men and to somehow stop feeling victimized, I want more experiences, and I want to find that place in my life where I can be truly happy.
So if you’re like me, on Christmas [or your birthday] you’ll probably unwrap the material gift that you wanted the most and you’ll feel so grateful for it and you’ll be happy. But part of you will still feel empty inside because that material thing can’t take the place of some of the things that you want the most.