Christmas has always been my favourite time of year.  I love to find the perfect gift for each person on my list.  Something they wouldn’t necessarily have bought themselves but that reflects the special characteristics of their personality.  Something that says, "You are very special to me.  Thank you for being there for me this year."

Since I’ve been married, Christmas, although I still love it, has been "a little less" of my favourite time of year.  Buying for more than twice the number of people I once bought for is part of it.  I find I have been buying gifts for people I don’t really know, people who’s homes I have never even been inside.  I don’t see how I can think of that perfect gift when I don’t know what the recipient is all about.  This year, financially, it was necessary to drastically decrease our shopping list.  Only parents, siblings and grandparents remained.  And to be honest, I think that’s perfectly appropriate.

I’ve made deals with all of my friends over the past few years to skip Christmas and celebrate birthdays instead.  Lisa is the one friend who remains an exception to the rule.  Every year she presents me with a beautifully decorated package bursting at the seams with several different kinds of cookies, candies and brittles.  All homemade.  I find it morally impossible not to extend a thoughtful gift when she has put so much time and effort into mine. 

I met Lisa tonight after work.  We had a lovely gab over caffeinated beverages.  I blathered on about my usual nonsense and we discussed the merits of yoga at length.  Just as we were about to push off for the evening we exchanged the gifts.  Of course, there were the treats but there was something so wonderful in addition to them that I felt a little overwhelmed.  A beautiful  blue bowl decoupaged with the chant, "OM",  that we had admired together a month or so ago during a visit to Orbital Arts in Kensington Market.  To say that I was touched would be a gross understatement.

This is why the spark has gone out of Christmas.  In an effort to simplify the season and stay within a budget I’ve eliminated my friends, the very people who deserve a special present the most!  Who willingly put up with all my crap and still seem to like me anyway and who should be honoured at Christmas, because they have been there for me every bit as much through the year as my immediate family.  I want them to feel as touched as I did opening up the blue bowl.  I know birthdays are special too, but I can’t help but feel that Christmas might have a little more magic if I added the friends back into the mix.

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