Am I a Jerk at Christmas?


I like presents at Christmas. I like to give them. I like to receive them. Mostly, I love to buy my kids exactly the gifts they asked for. I love seeing the foot of the Christmas tree full of unopened gifts. I have four kids, so just a few gifts each and the presents are extending beyond the limbs of the tree.

I’m not cool enough or energetic enough to do “Elf on a Shelf”. Maybe with my grandbabies…but for now, most of my energy goes into ordering presents from Amazon. I’ve seen so many great ideas about how to be charitable at Christmas…my own best friends share beautiful examples of how they extend their Christmas spirit to those less fortunate over the holidays. I read their posts and think, “Aw! That was so cool and compassionate!” Then, “Back to Amazon so I can order Baby Girl the plushie she asked for!”

Am I jerk for this? I kind of think I am. I ask myself why it is that I’m so ego (family)-centric during Christmas? I think there are a few reasons:

  1. Being in the military, we’ve never lived near family. I created a safe, warm cocoon of our own holiday spirit and tradition within our home. No outsiders, please!
  2. I’m an introvert. Sure, when I’m around other people, they may see me as fun and outgoing. But it’s all a farce, I tell you! I’d rather be alone with my thoughts and memories on a hilltop overlooking the ocean any day. No outsiders, please!
  3. My energy level has dwindled to nearly nothing over the years due to my various health issues. The past few Christmases have been a struggle just to get into the holiday spirit with my own family. No outsiders, please!

Hmmmm….this is a problem. I justify my Christmas spending on the children by saying I don’t buy gifts and toys for them throughout the year. I really don’t: Christmas and birthdays are gift-giving days and the other 363 days of the year I try to encourage being grateful for what we have. It has worked so far.

Yet, I feel a yearning to do more. Military life, introvertedness and health issues aside, I feel I need to do more. I don’t want to be the jerk who only spreads Christmas cheer with her kids. So how do I reach beyond myself to those in need? A quick search on the net (thank you, Google!) provided a few of the follow ideas. I’m going to challenge myself to do at least one this year–WITH my children:

I especially like the idea of the kids choosing a charity to donate money to.

I have to send these out anyway… with this method, I can be charitable at the same time!

I don’t live in the UK, but these ideas are stirring something in me…

Okay, okay…I see that it won’t be hard to extend myself to do a little something extra for an oustider (or two, or three, or ten) if I put forth just a little bit of effort. Just so we’re clear, I’m still going to spoil my Babies rotten when it’s financially feasible, but instead of bah-humbugging it this year, I’m really going to make an effort to do just a little something for someone not in my immediate family or friend circle. In the words of Tiny Tim, “God bless us, Everyone!”


CJ Heath

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