Yeah, there is just something about that jingle that takes me right back to the days of me and my two brothers circling things in the department store catalogs before Christmas. It was our makeshift Christmas lists, and although we were fairly certain that we would not be getting the G.I. Joe Carrier, the U.S.S. Flagg, you just had to circle that thing, because… who knew, Santa might be extra generous this year.
Over the years, I stopped circling things in catalogs. I stopped making Christmas lists. Somewhere along the line, I became the guy who ended up filling those lists, filled with sugar plums (which I just recently found out are a candy and not some kind of sugar-coated fruit… ok, it is a sugar-coated fruit, but not the way I was thinking…) and faerie wishes and toys that would make any small child squeal with delight on Christmas morning.
Sure, they say giving is better than receiving. Again, I’m not so sure who ‘they’ are, but I’m pretty sure that the ‘they’ who say this are saying it to people who are giving them things and whom they forgot to get something for in some feeble effort to form some sort of defense or excuse as to why they didn’t, or worse, by a parent using it as a blanket of comfort for their child when the child did not get something for the parent.
Come on, let’s be honest. No one ever says those words unless they are being used in a comforting manner. We all like receiving gifts, and you know, receiving is way better than giving. If you don’t believe me, go look at any kids face when he gets a present and then look at the parent’s face. One is definitely way happier than the other.
Sure, giving that perfect gift, knowing you nailed it, is a pretty epic feeling. But doesn’t that then beg the question as to who you got the gift for? Think about it, it does come across a bit selfish. Cynical? Sure. Grinch-ish? Maybe. Real? Absolutely.
I think that is what has happened to me over the last 30 years. Somewhere along the way, I lost the joy of circling things in catalogs, with the accompanied wistful and wishful hope of the unexpected, and just felt like my duty was that of gift giver. Christmas doesn’t really feel like Christmas anymore. I’ve tried to let go of that childhood dream, embracing the whole family thing. That has been some comfort, especially since the years have caused a decrease in the number of current family members. But letting go of waking up early, waking up mom and dad, sitting around the tree as it is aglow with the blinking lights, presents nestled under mom’s Christmas town diorama, and the joyful expectation of the unknown… that’s a lot harder to let go of than I thought it would be.
These days, I fight pretty hard to get back that kid spirit. Being an adult sucks, having to put on this image that you enjoy it isn’t all that fun either. So, I bought some coloring books, I collect bobble-heads and action figures for my Disney Infinity (Marvel addition, baby.. woot), and I get lost in cartoons (Phineas and Ferb’s Star Wars movie was AWESOME, seriously, check it out).
So, tonight, if you need me, there is a pretty good chance I will be laying on the carpet in my living room, circling a G.I. Joe carrier…
Besides, my wife told me she was totally spoiling me this Christmas.. (yes, I am in fact clapping my hands together gleefully)