Last weekend, when I was telling you about that (still completely amazing) heated mattress pad I gifted myself, Anna Vasquez described what has become a glorious Christmas fantasy:
The idea that you just take your money, buy the stuff you want, and then spend Christmas morning or whenever you do gifts, showing your family your stuff and explaining why you love it is so exciting to me. It seems like a way to shift the emphasis of Christmas morning (or whenever) to actually hanging out and communicating with your family. It'd be a chance to share your interests and what gets you excited.
And it would be easy to modify if some family members were less fiscally able than others because you could set a spending limit or pool resources before redistributing them or a bunch of other things. And no one would have to pretend to be excited about a giant stuffed animal when someone else got a computer.
I really do believe that the thought counts when it comes to gifts but sometimes the thought doesn't save a present from disaster -- see: every diet- and exercise-related gift ever given to someone who hasn't very specifically requested that item. And sometimes family members just don't know each other very well even when they love each other very much.
Of course, if this ideal holiday situation were happening, no one would judge you for the things you bought yourself either. People would give you the ten minutes you need for the short version of why this particular sonic screwdriver is so freaking cool. And you'd give them the same thing in return.
It'd all depend on people really buying into the chance to get to know each other's enthusiasms better.
It's hard to believe in that ideal scenario though -- and I think my own ideal holiday would be a little different anyway. Not because I don't love family but because it's just so nice not to travel for Christmas. Our families don't live where we live so we have to pick a branch of the family to visit and then spend all our free time in the car if we're going to see anyone. (We don't live where our families live would also be accurate but if we lived where our families lived then we couldn't live together because they don't live in the same place. Obviously.)
We've spent one or two Christmases at home alone and it's OK but it's not the best -- pros and cons, like anything else.
So for my ideal holiday, people would come to us. I really like hosting though we don't have the space to put people up (which is one reason reality and ideal fantasy holiday are so different) and it would make me incredibly happy to feed everyone and have family and friends under my roof to eat and play games and talk.
Also it would happen in the evening instead of in the morning because I like sleeping in a little and waking up with my husband on Christmas morning. We do stockings and we don't have to rush around and as long as we're talking ideal scenario, I want to hang on to that.
This year I'm working both the 24th and the 26th at my day job -- but we're thinking of having people over on the evening of the 26th anyway because extending the holiday is always fun and because why shouldn't we get some of that awesome feeling of having people we love in our home with us? I think it's a holiday tradition in the making, which makes it even better than an unattainable ideal.
What about you? What's your Hallmark Christmas movie ending level of ideal holiday scenario?