I love winter. I love giving presents to my loved ones, things I've thought about carefully and purchased or made for specific people. I love getting presents, too.
But I hate the financial pressure of Xmas in the US. There are so many sales, deals, free shipping coupons and incentives to buy at this time of year. Gift suggestions clutter my inbox - websites remembered what I did last year and conveniently suggest ideas that often are eerily appropriate. It simultaneously freaks me out and makes me love the possibilities of the internet.
As my immediate family grows (more on my long lost brother to come), it becomes difficult to afford xmas. At what point do I have to draw the line and stop doing this? Or should I instead focus on birthdays? There is a conflict in my soul between the fulfillment of tradition at xmas and my disgust at the marketization of tradition.
It's such a trap.
But this year, we decided months in advance that we would all prefer to put our family celebration off for a year. It has given me permission to immediately archive any promotional emails that come in my inbox. I am not surfing websites looking for gifts and getting sidetracked into buying stuff I don't need. I am disengaged from the xmas franchise. And I love it. I'm still looking forward to our family gathering in January, and maybe there will be presents, but it will be removed from the hot mess of xmas in america.
It gives me hope that we can actively reinvent our traditions, retaining the heart of our gathering and removing the destructive effects of capitalism. Ok, maybe not completely, but at least the craziness of the holiday season will be over. In fact, aren't there big sales in January too?