Happy holidays of seeing jewelry commercials and smiling families eating Pillsbury crescent rolls!
In the last year I have become increasingly cynical and downright grinchy around this time of year. Allow me to get on my soapbox.
I want to believe in the magic that is unconditional love for complete strangers you meet on the street, but when you consistently see the dumpster fire that is people in general…….you can’t help but be skeptical. Course I’m an introvert so people in general exhaust me.
Which brings me to controversy of gift giving. Very recently a close friend of mine celebrated their birthday. It was…..conflicting.
Not because they hate birthdays, but because people around them made it all about themselves. From relatives wanting to take over the day, to a complete lack of caring by others, it was a mess. A few days after, an acquaintance dropped by her house and all but threw a store-bought cake in her face. It was white with sprinkles. That gift was accompanied by a passive aggressive rant over how my friend had cost them money and how that wasn’t appreciated. Followed by how hard their own life was, how busy they were, and how my friend “could just never know how hard things were”.
That’s quite a happy birthday isn’t it?
I know I talk on this blog about how special food can be to share memories, but when food is shared in such a way that it creates a sour memory, it becomes tasteless. A delectable meal handcrafted from the finest chef would instantly lose appeal if it was given in such disdain. Like the cake.
For some reason, people think that as long as you deliver a gift, that’s enough. There is not much attention paid to the manner in which the gift is given. My friend was given a cake because, hey, it’s a cake. Not out of love and desire to spend time with her. To my friend, it was clear that the person was saying that she was not worth the time.
I have also become very conscious not only of how gifts are given but received.
Over the years I have given many presents that were either thrown by the wayside, criticized, or handed back to me a few months later because they forgot that I was the one that gave it to them. Back in July, I gave a handmade gift that was promptly given back to me as soon as it was opened. That one hurt. I had given it in a manner of love, but was slapped in the face with it.
What is the point of holiday shopping if the person you shop for doesn’t even care what you give them? They’ll most likely buy what they want themselves an hour later.
What’s the point……
So therin lies my conflict. How do I reconcile my feelings surrounding the thoughtlessness of human beings, with the unquestioning generosity and gift giving this time of year flaunts in my face? My mom says to love people where they are. Sometimes that feels like sticking your whole hand in a waffle iron: it’s incredibly painful. Why do it if it ends up hurting yourself? I wish we could actually enjoy other people, instead of saying we should and throwing that idea by the wayside because of petty selfishness and shiny baubles.
If anyone out in the blogosphere has any ideas, I would be happy to hear it. I don’t want to be a grinch, but I will if I have to be. In the meantime, I’ll be hating The Who’s on Mount Krumpit, spending the holidays with my grumpy dog Dobby.
What happened to the birthday cake? It was never eaten. Untouched. It sat on her table for three days as a reminder of how little people cared. Eventually it was thrown out.