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Amanda Lamb: Scrooge

Posted December 5, 2010

OK, go ahead. Call me Scrooge. I can take it, mostly because it fits. As soon as they took down the Halloween decorations at the store, Christmas was up. I couldn't escape it. Shiny bows, lights, greenery, smiling Santa mugs. Everywhere you look Christmas has sprung. And don't even get me started on the holiday music...

Every year at this time I get a tightness in my stomach, not to mention my wallet, regarding what is supposed to be a magical time of year.

But between the gift buying, wrapping, decorating, Christmas cards and planning Christmas gatherings, there's not much time to enjoy the magic. All my friends who are mothers express the same issues to me. The magnitude of the demands placed on us seem to take the fun out of the season. Every year I say I'm going to simplify things. Every year I fail to figure out a way to do this and end up on the same treadmill of holiday chaos.

As a child I loved Christmas. I remember meticulously making homemade cards and gifts for my family. I was so excited for them to open them up on Christmas morning. I don't get that same feeling now when someone opens a sweater from Nordstrom's. I do still, however, feel the holiday spirit when we give gifts to various charities and families in need. But I always feel like we need to do even more in this area and less for those who have everything they need.

So, I guess I am a Scrooge, but it's not that I don't like Christmas. I just don't like what it has increasingly become - a commercial holiday focused on gifts and spending money.

My perfect Christmas would involve my family being together and not having one gift under the tree. That in itself would be a gift - simply being with the people you love and focusing on that blessing. I know this is unrealistic when you have children. I fully understand that the magic of Christmas revolves around children and in part, their excitement over what Santa brings them.

But maybe someday we can have the kind of Christmas I dream about. For now I will buck up, plow through the season and concentrate on the gifts I have that don't come in a pretty box.

Amanda Lamb is the mom of two, a reporter for WRAL-TV and the author of several books including one on motherhood called "Smotherhood." Find her here on Mondays.


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  • Twittyfan Dec 6, 2010

    Amanda I know exactly how you feel. It is sad that you go in a store in October and Halloween and Christmas decorations are out but Thanksgiving is ignored.. I love Thanksgiving and I can't bring myself to put up a tree until a few days after Thanksgiving is gone.. As far as Christmas it is my favorite too but I would rather give to needy families because we have everything we need and we are very blessed..I would rather have my tree with decorated homemade ornaments verses the bought ones but the schools do not do that anymore..

  • pulstar40 Dec 6, 2010

    Christmas in November...and in many cases October, drives me crazy. One of the reasons for the magical memories is that no one even thought about Christmas until December (or at least until Santa arrived during the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade). No one would even think about putting their tree up Thanksgiving Weekend. My parents and several other families we knew always put the tree up on the first day of winter (the 21st) and we knew many families where the tree went up Christmas Eve. And all those holiday parties...they all took place the week between Christmas and New Years! The time period for celebrating Christmas was short, sweet and very much a special time for family and friends. No Christmas in July. No ornaments competing with back to school supplies. No one even dreaming of buying Christmas wrapping paper along with the Halloween Costume. Ah, for the good old days.

  • buyanest Dec 6, 2010

    Thanks so much for sharing these feelings, Amanda. It is as if you took the words right out of my mouth. As my children have gotten older, I have been able to exemplify some of my most inner feelings on the true meaning of Christmas. We are always the last household to decorate in my neighborhood and I just don't feel the pressure to fall in with the throngs of folks who crank up for Christmas in mid November. Kathy G. Goldsboro, NC

  • YesNoMaybeSo Dec 6, 2010

    There is a holiday like that--family together with no gifts, focusing on the blessing of the ones you love. It's called Thanksgiving. That's why it is my favorite holiday. :-)

  • snowl Dec 5, 2010

    I know what your saying about holiday music. I couldn't believe my ears one summer when the ice cream truck was playing holiday jingles as it drove through the neighborhood to get our attention. I thought, this must be what they call Christmas in July....(eyes rolling).

  • shsmith6174 Dec 5, 2010

    I am so glad to know that I am not the only one who feels this way. Christmas is a time to celebrate the birth and Christ and what he brought to this world and to spread the love he represents to all. It is for helping those who can't help themselves and of course, the children. It is such a magical time for them and that can be taken away by the stress that our commercialized society has created. I am so glad that I will not give into what they feel is the true meaning of Christmas and I hope that my children are learning that the real presents aren't under the tree.