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Friday Group Therapy: Holidays

[Leather Couch]I’m still trying to do the Friday Group Therapy thing that I joined a fortnight ago – last weeks were only a day late, but since it’s practically Christmas I’m allowing myself to be slightly late.

This week, Brian has managed to think of 7 questions to do with the holiday season: yep, Crimbo time!

  1. What holiday do you celebrate this time of year and what does it mean to you?
    I celebrate Christmas (also known as ‘Crimbo’ and ‘Xmas’) although I’m aware that the Jewish faith celebrate Hanukkah. What it means to me? Well, as a Christian it means the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ (although it is well known that Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th – most likely September 29th, 5 BC, but I’ve heard even mid-January). “Christmas” as a celebration actually pre-dates Christmas and goes back to Pagan origins and hence why it is not celebrated by certain parts of Christianity – most notably the Jehovah’s Witnesses.

    What else does Christmas mean to me? Well, I suppose it goes deeper than “just religion”: Christmas has become a time of goodwill, friendship, love, caring, a time to think of others, family, and, of course, the commercialisation aspect. Yeh! I admit it, I like Christmas presents! 🙂

  1. What kind of activities do you have planned
    I’m going to visit my Parents and family, might go to Church in the morning (family tradition – but I’ve got no memory of us actually going the last few years), go out to a meal with them, lounge around their house, call my GESF (of course! 😉 ), probably call or see my Grandparents and then head back home and be sick on chocolates and drink!

    My family also have a sort of tradition where we go for a walk through Bradgate Park on Boxing Day (I can still remember the year when Whitney Houston was the Christmas number 1 in 1992 with “I Will Always Love You” and we went through the walk singing parts of the song). Alas, we haven’t done that for a few years either.

  2. How well do you handle the silly season?
    Well, apart from leaving most of my Christmas shopping to the last minute (only got my Parent’s presents on Monday and my GESF’s on last Wednesday (posted on Thursday) – I think I “deal” with the season quite well. I do sometimes get a little bored, but I usually find something to read, eat or watch to take my mind off it.
  3. How do you handle your own gifts? Wish list, hope for the best, insist on cash or gift certificates, take your loved ones shopping, etc?
    Oooh – a good one! Most people ask me what I would like. In fact, this year, I ended up doing a majority of the family Christmas shopping – together my parents ordered nearly £300 worth of goods from Amazon via me (they’ve already paid me back thank goodness!). When I mentioned which videos and books I wanted, she told me to add them to the order so I did (and I’m now trying to forget what they were). I normally get a few other “surprise” presents from my family – but I do agree with them that “every year it gets harder to think of what to get people”.

    My GESF also asked what I would like, so I gave her a list of books from my Amazon “wish list” (that I maintain mainly to keep track of which books I want to buy myself) and she was kind enough to buy me two of them (again, I’m trying to forget exactly which two).

  4. How did you celebrate the holidays when you were young?
  5. Wake up quite early (around 7am) and open the stocking at the bottom of the bed. Santa would always leave us a large red stocking full of things that we could unwrap straight away – usually containing chocolate gold coins, socks, small toys – things like that.
    Then, I’d get dressed etc – and my family would all take our “sacks” downstairs. These were large plastic bags with Christmas motifs that were crammed full of presents. We’d all then have a large Christmas breakfast (the table would be packed of food that we could ‘pick’ at), and then my parents would say “Open your sacks”. We (the children) would sit down and open the presents in our sacks one at a time (well, sort of, each of us would wait for the others before progressing to the next present in our individual sack). We usually got clothes, books, videos and things like that in the sacks.
    Then it would be off down to a packed Church (whilst my Dad would stay behind preparing Christmas lunch). Come back, have lunch and then start on the “Tree Presents”. These were presents “not from Santa” – for example, presents to and from each of us kids, presents from Mum and Dad, presents from grandparents and relatives etc.
    Finally, once that was finished (could take an hour or so), we’d be left with a few “large presents” under the tree. These were our main (i.e. large or expensive) Christmas gifts and consisted of a wide variety of things over the years. I can still remember that one year, one of my sisters got really upset because the box her ‘main gift’ was in was really small. She opened it and revealed a cycling helmet – and got even more upset! “What good is a helmet – I wanted I new bike!”. My Dad then popped out to the garage and the way her expression changed when he walked in and said that Santa had to leave it in the garage because it wouldn’t fit under the tree…

    Then we’d just play with our toys, eat, drink and be merry.
    Heh. Thinking back, the first Christmas that my ex-fiancee and I were together her expression changed quite a bit. We opened “our gifts” at her parents house (before coming round mine) and she really liked the long blue dress I had got her. She did look really nice in it (she actually wore it for that New Years Eve: 1999/2000). However, she wasn’t quite sure what to think of the “main” present I had got her – I had been winding her up for a few days about what she was getting and… First of all, I gave her a small package which when unwrapped revealed 2 AA sized batteries with a note saying “You’ll need these for your next present”. The next gift was around 6 inches long and cylinder shaped. For some very strange reason she was reluctant to open something that was 6″ long and needed batteries in front of her parents.

    They weren’t quite sure what to make of it, she was slightly scared and my mother (yep, she had come round) and I were just grinning to each other as we knew what it was. My ex-fiancee was “I don’t want it! Why did you get me something like that?” (thinking, as I had ‘made’ her think, that it was a ‘female self-pleasuring device’). In the end, her parents made her open it, and – lo and behold – it was just a 4″ rectangular remote control that had been very craftily wrapped up (with lots of wrapping paper at either end to make it look like a cylinder). My Mum then brought in a large box and the rest of her Christmas present of a Stereo system was revealed! She was overjoyed (and, yep, she had mentioned to me several times in the past she wanted one – but I wanted it to be a surprise and, since I have got a slight ‘cruel streak’ in me, I wanted to wind her up just a little bit 🙂 ).

  6. What is your favourite thing about the holidays?
    Being near family whilst not having to worry about a thing.
  7. What is your least favourite thing about the holidays?
    Trying to think about which gifts to buy people. I think one of the least favourite times of this year is going to only be able to talk to my GESF by phone – I would have really liked to spend Christmas with her, but, alas, it just isn’t possible this year. Hopefully, if things continue as well as they have been, we may be able to spend Christmas together next year. I just hope I’m not getting my hopes up…


  1. Good answers this week.

    Take that! Welcome to Blogger Snowball Fight 2002!!!!

  2. What Christmas means to me

    Beebware’s post about Christmas made me think. As you may know, I’m an atheist, so why am I celebrating Christmas, which is essentially a Christian holiday?

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