Tuesday, December 27, 2011

How Grinchette Stole Christmas

My last blog was a sanctimonious display of my naive hopefulness. That we could skip the "gift" part of Christmas and then, and only then, would we experience the true joy of the season. What it was meant to be. Not about gifts and cookies and parties and trees and all the trimmings, but the pure essence of Christmas itself. This whole no gift thing sounded great in theory, and I nobly droned on and on about skipping presents because I did not have the energy, health or money. And how that was the solution I was choosing, for this year, to accommodate Fibromyalgia. 

So we skipped presents. And I woke up Christmas morning in tears. There was nothing to look forward to! There were no hidden gems under the tree for my husband to discover. Gifts thoughtfully planned out, serving to remind him how much I appreciate him. How much I treasure him. He had none. There was no over-indulgence he spoiled me with because he loves me and thinks I deserve it. There were no packages of things I casually mentioned over the last few months as needing but didn't have room for in my budget. There was nothing. I did not even wrap up Yorkie and Porkie gifts or buy my poor puppies a bone.

And I hated every last second of it! Maybe that makes me shallow but it sucked. I stomped around and grumbled, wondering what on earth set this day apart from all the rest. It was on a Sunday so not even church was out of the ordinary! We were lazy, watched TV and took the dogs to the park. Dinner was good, the day relaxing. But I learned a valuable lesson. There is somewhere between throwing your financial stability in the trash and no presents. It is middle ground. It is keeping in mind gifts are but a token of appreciation for those we love. The joy of giving rivals that of receiving, and there is no shame in exchanging gifts. My husband was a good sport. I looked at him halfway through the day and told him I was sorry I stole Christmas. I was sad about my choice. He teased me a bit, made me promise I was never going to "pull this crap again", and let it go. Thank heavens he forgives me easier than I do.

Thanks for joining,


  1. I did the same thing for one of my birthdays in the early years of illness. i was living with my parents and my Mom gets a ton of joy out of being sort of the "Birthday Fairy". Decorating the house, buying fun gifts, choosing a special cake. And i, like you, regretted it immediately. (Luckily for me, My Mom ran out, got a cake, and we watched old movies together).

    I share this just because, you know, there is no rule book for How In The Heck To Do All This With Chronic Illness. (Well, some books try ;->). We try and fail in many areas, but we *learn* from them! I think my Mom was more sad than i was about the Birthday thing; i took her fun out of it. Now that i know how much she loves all that stuff, if we have to have my (or hers. or dad's!) b-day 7 days late, like this year, or in bed or everyone lying on the floor, we just kind of figure that out. This is such a crazy journey. I appreciate your real-ness in sharing this and think we all can find the Middle Ground. It just takes some time, and we have to be nice to ourselves along the way! :) Merry Christmas plus 2 days, Leah, *gentle hugs*

  2. Next time make a coupon book (if nothing else) that is redeemable on your good days. You can put anything in it!

  3. Go to the after Christmas sales, get a few things and wrap them up and put them under your tree and have a "Christmas Day" on another day. You can still have the joy of Christmas with pretend. Because isn't magic what it's all about?

    Don't go overboard. Just appreciate each other in small ways that you can unwrap. There's no reason you can't still have the joy. Hey - New Year's Eve is coming. Is your tree still up? What about a shopping trip this week and a champagne present unwrapping on at midnight?