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American

So here it is again.It seems to arrive sooner every year. Didn't Halloween just exit? Now here we are again, she thought to herself. Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving where seemingly every human is bound and determined to show how much they care in material form. It was all a sham, a way to force people into more debt. The only way to show you care is with some newfangled product, a luxurious piece of jewelry, all of which an average person on a salary could ill afford. That is, if you believed the retailers and the advertisements that play constantly during the season. It was not a new feeling for her. She recognized it as apathy. It was far too familiar for her this time of year. There was a time not too long ago, where she bought the hype. She endeavored to find the "perfect" gift herself many times. She felt the sensation of panic that would arrive every year when the hot gift would elude her clutches and the mad dash that would ensue, chasing frantically from store to store hoping to make it in time to find it. She remembered how much the season would bring joy, and how quickly that joy would be depart one or two stores in. It was designed to leave one perpetually exhausted, and stressed out. All for the smiles on a loved ones face. It was odd, how far removed from the person she was just a few short years ago. She remembers so vividly how her love of the holiday season was extinguished. It was the doll. A beautiful replica of her daughter, one designed to mimic the same qualities her beloved Ava shared. Beautiful strawberry blond hair, one that could not be replicated by a salon, and the smattering of freckles across the bridge of her little snub nose. It was adorable, and exorbitantly priced. Little matter though, that was the gift her daughter would love, and probably would become an heirloom later, for her own daughter someday. She knew she had to have it. The hunt for her daughters gift was over. She could not wait to see the joy on her daughters face on Christmas morning as she opened her gift. The anticipation of that day had her in knots. Oh she was so excited! This would be the best holiday ever. She just knew that it was going to be hard to top that one in future years. She seemed to walk a little straighter, confident in her purchase and in her daughters ultimate happiness. The pangs of joy she had then are now removed at the pangs of sadness and anger as she remembers how she found that perfect gift in the back of her daughters closet, casually tossed asunder with little care. She remembers the chip in its face, near the chin. Her heart seemed to shatter in that moment. It was that very same moment that she knew she was over Christmas. It wasn't so much the holiday she had a problem with, it was the rampant commercialism that became synonymous with it. You couldn't think of Christmas without thinking of your bank account, your credit card limits or your budget. she often wondered how we all got to this point. The spirit of the season was really all but lost. There was so much left behind and nothing gained by the consumerism. Traditions once cherished became disregarded, and it was all about what you can obtain. She had acquired a strange sense of guilt about her own childhood memories. Her fondness of those memories were now tempered with guilt when she remembered how her parents could ill afford to buy them fancy gifts, and yet they found a way. She thinks often of their own stresses of that time. Did they accrue debt because of them? When did buying them gifts become more important that food on the table? Strange, she doesn't recall Maslow's hierarchy of needs saying anything about gifts, either buying, giving, or receiving them. It was a strange place to be, doubting how much happiness was really there in her archives. Were her own siblings affected by that same guilt? Could she really be the only person on the planet that pondered this matter? She knew she wasn't yet she still felt singularly alone with this. She was very frequently chided by her sisters for her selfishness. It angered her a little that they would offer her that take. She really couldn't blame them though. They grew up in the same household. She still cherished the time with family, but these days felt a little different. She still celebrated the holiday, just not the same way she used to. Instead of buying gifts, she and her children would travel somewhere, spend a few days having fun, making memories. Sometimes they would go to the snow. They'd ski, drink hot chocolate, and sit around the fireplace telling stories. Other trips would have them at the beach, enjoying the surf, the sun, and the peace it offered. It felt as the holidays should feel. It felt comfortable. It renewed her and it brought back the joy she had lost during the holiday season. It gave her new memories, and new photos to add to her photo albums. It makes clear the mistakes she had made, and paves the way for correction. It is never too late to change and make new traditions. Her children were getting older and soon would be out of the house. She wanted to leave them something they would not have to unpack. They can take those memories and hopefully they could change their outlook and place importance on the things that really matter . She hoped she did not wait too long to bring them around to this way of thinking. She was pretty proud of them for not complaining or grumbling about her sudden about face. They had become accustomed to receiving gifts and they have seemed to take this all in stride, to their credit. It gave her hope that the holiday season she loves, can become the holiday season it was meant to be. A season of joy, hope and good wishes. She thought that starting here was a gift in itself. The very idea brought a smile to her lips.

November 27, 2021 05:59

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3 comments

04:53 Jan 24, 2023

Very nice, Angie! It's so realistic and heartfelt I almost believe it's something that happened to YOU! The woman in the story gave herself a substantial gift. She traded stuff for beautiful shared experiences, and memories. Whoever she is I want to wish her a Merry Christmas!

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Boutat Driss
16:21 Dec 04, 2021

a beautiful tale!

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Angela Early
17:35 Dec 04, 2021

Thank you very much!

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