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One Atheist's Holiday Season

 
 
colorbook
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 09:52 am
Hope every ones Thanksgiving was as nice as mine.
Whenever I get together with my family, I always think that, "this could be the last time we will all be together in one place." I give it my all, in hopes that in the future, when we are no longer together anymore, that I will have no regrets about what might of been or could've been. To me this is what the holiday season is all about.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 10:40 am
onyxelle, When our mother passed away some 20 years ago, we had a sibling meeting to decide what to do with her house. I'm the second oldest in our family of four, and I said I wanted no part of it, and suggested that our sister get 60 percent and our oldest brother get 40 percent. My younger brother didn't want any part of it either, because he's a doctor and has assets that exceeds the combined value of the rest of us. Well, during the past twenty years, my older brothers children used the house, and essentially trashed the place without taking care of it. Before our sister sold it last year, she had to upgrade the house and spent over $30,000 before she could put it on the market to sell. I have seen too many families getting split up for property and the parent's home and other valuables. It just wasn't worth it to me.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 11:21 am
My mother and aunt had a twenty year grudge over their brother doing what they considered an unfair real estate deal with Their aunt, and another brother sided with him. Hearing about all this over and over was one of the banes of my adolescent years. They never really forgave, but some of their families came to my father's funeral, and some of the flames died down. It was a giant family severence. Not that my mother and aunt were wrong (though they might have been) but what an amazing strain it all was.

I like the holiday feeling too. On gifts, it is hard when some are less able to give than others. I am usually on the short end for money, and have devised some odd gifts over time. Usually they made up in flamboyance or having to do with the recipient whan they lacked in department store quality, e.g., I'll keep my eye out all year for old books in used book stores that relate to people's interests. This has gotten easier over time since now many of my friends and relatives really like old treasures of different sorts.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 12:05 pm
osso, That you would put that much effort to finding gifts with personal meaning usually gets lost on many people whether its during these holidays or other days of celebration such as anniversaries and birthdays. I admire people like you. HAPPY HOLIDAYS. Wink
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Piffka
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 12:18 pm
colorbook wrote:
I give it my all in hopes that in the future, when we are no longer together anymore, that I will have no regrets about what might of been or could've been. To me this is what the holiday season is all about.


<sigh> Me, too, Colorbook. I'm especially sad when the younger generation suffer the grudges of the older ones. It happens in nearly every family, but some are able to get over it... some not. I try to make a contact with each niece & nephew to make sure they KNOW I love them. They're so adorable anyway, even the big ones, what's not to love?

When my dad was still alive, if there had been an argument during the year, at some point on Christmas Eve he'd catch hold of the hands of, for example, my sister and me. He's say that the one thing he wanted this year for Christmas was for us to forgive each other... to kiss and make up. Of course, we'd comply, sometimes sheepishly, but in front of the rest of the family. The air really would clear between us. He was a generous man and would make sure that debts were settled, grievances cleared. I wish he were still here to do that -- families sometimes need that kind of intervention.
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littlek
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 02:45 pm
Edgar! Your starting post hits my feelings about the holiday season on the head. I would go one step farther and say happy thanksgiving (since when has Tday become a religious holiday?) happy holidays (rather than christmas). All relgions' main holidays seem to be about family and friends coming together. I also agree that religion has a truely wonderful aspect to it and that is the passing of tradition.
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edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 06:39 pm
Cav
My wife spent a good deal of her past going to church. Today she no longer goes, though she often watches local pastor John Osteen (I think that's the name) on television. I don't tell her how to look at religion and she doesn't tell me. Fortunately, we see eye to eye on how to celebrate the season.
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edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 06:41 pm
Frank - No reason to let the other guys have all the fun.
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edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 06:50 pm
onyxelle
After my mother died all her children turned on each other. It took many years to get some of them to drop all the grudges and be civil again. There were originally twelve of us. We are divided into three or four camps. These get along with those, those get along with whomever - For about five years I washed my hands of them all. Now, I have a good relation with all but two (We are down to ten of us now). Those two as of today are nowhere to be found. It's tough to try to be family with people who won't cooperate.
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edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 06:52 pm
ossobuco
That's a wise and caring approach.
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edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 06:55 pm
I'm glad we see eye to eye littleK
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 07:09 pm
Thanks, you guys. Mostly I buy new used, as I wander happily all year through thrift shops and some better antique shops - which sometimes have really wonderful things for not much - but in really hard times I have looked around my house for what I could give. I admit to some less than perfect motives sometimes, always scrambling to figure out something, but also watching out all year.... but they usually worked out. I mix in small bars of really good soap or other inexpensive brand new treasures (Dr. Brommer's....or one of those $5.00 bars of french soap) and do, uh, creative wrapping. Really, nobody gives gifts exactly like mine. Heh.

One year, when there was incredible hazzerai in the family over - how to explain this in less than three pages, my husband's brother's wife's extraordinary behavior and its effect on my niece, who I mention here from time to time, I had in my possession from christmasses past from my husband's brother, two Liberian native "caftans". They were miles too big
for me, and I am no eentsy sylph. So I gave them to my (female) cousins, one who is pencil thin but very tall, and the other who is zaftig and also very tall. They fit them both and were the most exotic things, I think, seen in Orange County, California that particular day. (well, in conjecture). I have never asked since whether they ever wore them again, but they wore them hours that Christmas eve......

Ironically, twelve years later, I am much better friends with the exhusband's brother's exwife than I am with the brother, but ne'er mind.

This year, I bought some perhaps 2" long pea green rubber duckies for bathtub use, I think they were $1.49.

Ah, yes, I'm the eccentric one.
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edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 07:50 pm
Gift giving is a true art form in your case ossobuco. We usually go to Walmart and put toys and gifts for the kids on lay away. No tough decisions, no strain.
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 09:49 pm
Well, edgar, both things work, as we both know, it is the thought.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 10:31 pm
osso, Yes, it is the thought that counts, but many of us are guilty of giving it too little 'thought.' Wink
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cavfancier
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 10:32 pm
Edgar, we love our family but can't stand them sometimes. Wink In the end, it's always good.
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cicerone imposter
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 10:39 pm
I remember hearing on the radio recently about gifts. One was a topper when a husband bought his wife a iron. She threw it away when she saw what it was. Wink
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ossobuco
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 10:44 pm
I am remember my father and I going shopping for my mother and picking out a rose colored bathrobe and having her make us take it back. I think I was ten or eleven. (Was that the exact minute the long years of despond started?). Dunno if that was about money (it was probably mid priced) or that she hated hot pink (but no, she had a bright pink coat...)

Sigh. Presents are fraught.
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sozobe
 
  1  
Reply Fri 28 Nov, 2003 10:48 pm
cavfancier wrote:
as one aunt thought the competition to give the best, most finely wrapped presents was getting out of hand. It may have been a practical choice, but personally I find this sad and silly in it's entirety, and quite frankly, Mrs. cav and I are not looking forward to the occasion. A holiday without joy is no holiday at all.


Something similar happened in my mom's family, compounded by the fact that nobody really knew anyone else's tastes. What they ended up doing is drawing names. So I get a gift for my aunt, hubby gets a gift for my cousin, and two (unknown now, will be revealed when we see the present's tag) people get gifts for us. Kids under 16 or so get gifts from everyone, and my grandmother, when she was alive, gave gifts to everyone and got gifts from everyone. But this is much more wieldy (is so a word), without cutting out the gift aspect entirely. Oh, and also we have a $25 "limit" (quotes because people often go over, but usually not egregiously.)
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edgarblythe
 
  0  
Reply Sat 29 Nov, 2003 07:49 am
On my limited time and resources, Walmart is the most viable option. We manage to make 'em all happy.
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