Friday, December 5, 2008

The Grinch

The Grinch: That's what it's all about, isn't it? That's what it's always been about. Gifts, gifts... gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts, gifts. You wanna know what happens to your gifts? They all come to me. In your garbage. You see what I'm saying? In your garbage. I could hang myself with all the bad Christmas neckties I found at the dump. And the avarice... The avarice never ends! "I want golf clubs. I want diamonds. I want a pony so I can ride it twice, get bored and sell it to make glue." Look, I don't wanna make waves, but this whole Christmas season is stupid, stupid, stupid! (exerpt from Dr. Seusses How The Grinch Stole Christmas, Directed by Ron Howard)

It never occurred to me how true the story of The Grinch could possibly be. However, move a few of those words around and leave some EXACTLY how they are and you have the man I love right there, although much less green and hairy. At first when the whole talk of the holiday season came around, I thought that he just didn't like the holidays because he hadn't really had many good ones these last few years. Always deployed or what have you... I figured it to be nothing more than a case of the "aiming lows" and that a great Christmas would turn his attitude a bit, but the more we talk about it, the more it becomes apparent that Sgt. really, honestly, HATES Christmas. Loathes it. Much like Dr. Suesses Grinch.

Last night while on the phone he snapped at me because we were on the topic of what to get his family for Christmas, and he said something like "look, babe, I REALLY don't want to talk about Christmas right now" and so we tried to change the subject. This morning we talked for a little bit and headed back to the Christmas subject again.

You see... I have been trying to think of a great gift to get him. Not because I feel obligated. Not because he only asks for expensive or outrageous things. Not because I'm trying to measure up to him flying us to Vermont for Christmas... I've been searching because I LOVE giving gifts to show appreciation and love. I love getting something for someone that I know when they open it will get a huge smile on their face and get to do something they really want to do or have something they've always wanted to have. It's not about the GIFT, it's about how I feel knowing they feel special. It's about being able to do something for someone I love. I've been trying to score him tickets to see the Titans play at home. True Tennessee fan through and through, when I thought of the idea I couldn't believe it hadn't occurred to me before! I was so excited, because I knew he would love it. Well, I was outbid for the tickets I wanted and so the idea came and went today.... but I was still happy because I knew I was able to think of something he'd really like, so surely I could figure out another idea. When we talked about it, (yeah, I spilled the beans about what I really wanted to get him) he was appreciative of the thought... but was also a little upset. We had talked about a spending limit for Christmas gifts for each other this year. We're both a little tight on money and with lots of family to go around, we decided to not go extravagant on each other. I remember the conversation, but I don't remember the limit (I was informed today it was around 50 dollars.... ) and it just upset him.

I tried to explain, it's NOT about the money, or the gift, which he agreed to, but in his eyes, because it's not about the gift or the money, whats the point in getting one, and in mine... because it's not about the gift or the money, it's about the feeling and appreciation I want to show, I should be able to get him whatever I want. I don't want anything in return for it, I don't expect it to be matched... I want to make him happy, I want him to feel loved, I want to be able to do something nice for HIM for a change. Sgt. is by no stretch of the imagination stingy... he's incredibly giving, particularly with every day type of things and ideas. His big problem with it, is it feels like such an obligation. Everything about Christmas is an obligation to him. He told me yesterday "I really just hate Christmas" and it actually stung.

He's not trying to be mean or stifle how I feel about the holiday... but when we talked about it today - I agreed with him - the commercial side of Christmas is ridiculous, but that's not why I love Christmas. I tried to explain to him, I love Christmas because it's a time to reflect on the year, a time to appreciate your loved ones, a time to be thankful for the birth of Christ and what that means for us... being appreciative of that blessing so that we are able to be blessed abundantly. "Well that's exactly why I hate this freaking holiday baby!" HUH? - I gave him a moment to explain, and his point was... he feels like you should always be thankful for that (agreed) that you should always appreciate your family (agreed) that you should always be gracious and be able to give someone a gift just because you love them, not because it's a holiday and it's expected. And while all of that is a great argument, I still love the fact that everyone, if only for a short while, is a little more appreciative, and a little more thoughtful this time of year.

Granted.... he was actually angry so some of his wording may be off. I don't think it's any different from mine... but I think that's where we butt heads... he sees them as very different. He is in NO WAY judging me or saying I'm selfish or only a Christian for Christmas... not at all, he knows better anyway... but his point is that, that's what the holiday has become and the entire day just feels like a huge obligation.

I asked him if he could do Christmas his way how he would do it, and he said he would have the day off, and spend time at church with loved ones... (I'm actually throwing in the loved ones part because I THINK that's what he said... the day off and church were definite's though) - so I told him, lets just do that. He said we wouldn't be able to this year because of plans already made.

I love Christmas, I love love love love the entire holiday season, and it breaks my heart that he hates it so much. It doesn't make me mad, and I never feel like he's attacking me about my Christmas passion, it just makes me sad that it's not something we can share. It's not about the gifts, or how much we spend on them... I would love Christmas just as much if we got up in an undecorated house, went to church, and spent the rest of the day lounging around because what matters most to me is that I'm with people I love and care about, and they know that's how I feel. I just wish there was a way I could figure out an idea where we could celebrate Christmas together in a way that would make him happy. Don't get me wrong, the decorations are a blast, and I love looking at lights, I like the music and am a stud at wrapping gifts, don't even get me started on cookie recipes... but that's all bells and whistles, and it's not what's most important.... I just wish there was a way we could meet in the middle on it.

Any ideas?



I just want to let you know that I really, REALLY appreciate your comments. You're a good bloggie friend :)


I've been thinking and thinking about this and...have come up with no grand idea. It must be hard to have two such different viewpoints on something so important. But I know it will work out; you and Sgt and have come through so much together with such grace and honesty.