Just finished a wonderful 8 nights of Channukah with Jess and my folks. Lot of oily latkes and cheesy gifts. While I asked my folks not to get me anything this year, my parents bought me an Enervive machine after Mom saw an infomercial on HSN. The purchase reflects many aspects of my life. My parents are very loving, and even if they know I'm not really looking for anything (other than free time) my family still likes to try new and silly things. The Enervive is a battery powered machine with two paddles you place on a tense part of your body (lower back) that sends electric pulses that cause you muscles to involuntarily spasm, yet relax at the same time. Needless to say, after several glasses of wine, we we're all laughing around the table thinking about this goofy contraption and pretending like you could hook it up to your head to turn on electrical appliances. It was fun, and I'm glad Jess understands how my family works and is also eager to join it.
So while Jess and I are enjoying the holiday cheer,(it's hard not to given that the winter flavors at starbucks are back), recently I've been wondering as I look to extended family and colleagues, why can the holiday season bring out the worst in people? While I don't have a grand thesis on it, I think the heart of the issue comes from the idea of spending money you don't have on gifts that may not be appreciated.
But then again, I think back to the enervive, and while fortunately my parents can afford a silly toy and I don't think that my Mom meant for it be appreciated as a party gag, maybe the real issue is that gift giving forces people together. And you if can't appreciate your family and friends, it doesn't matter what toys you find under the Christmas tree this year.