It’s the gifts silly!
It always has been for me. When I was a kid, I would start to get excited sometimes towards the end of November. Perhaps a little before that. Then the advent calendar would go up, and I’d get to do that magical countdown all the way through December. Then the decorations would go up, and I’d get more excited. The big day would arrive. Until I was eight, I was the only child. On my father’s side, he was the eldest, and so was my grandfather, so I really was the only child in the family for those years.
I would get sacks full of gifts from not only from immediate family, but from aunts and uncles, great aunts and uncles, and even some of the neighbours. It started to tail off a bit after that, as more children came along. When I got to about fourteen, some of the great aunts and uncles now had their own grandchildren to buy for, so they started to drop me off their list, and my pile of gifts on Christmas morning got smaller.
I was disappointed at first, but I still got fine things from my parents and grandparents.
Getting into my late teens and early twenties, Christmas became more of a party time. I’d meet up with friends at the pub and we’d mostly all drink entirely too much. Never enough to get into any serious trouble though.
Once my own children arrived, it became a real pleasure to give gifts. It was something I did as a child, just small token things from my pocket-money and the Christmas savings my parents made for me, but the delight on their faces was a real joy.
These days, Christmas is a quiet affair for my wife and I, but the giving of gifts is still, for me, the real pleasure of Christmas. Of course it’s still nice to get a few surprises on Christmas morning, but I like to see her face when she opens her presents, just like I used to on the kids faces.