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Are You a Holiday Grinch ?

A lot of people hear the word Grinch and they think negative thoughts, but if you think about it, the Grinch's philosophy really wasn't a bad one.

For some reason, some people feel that they have to spend exorbitant amounts of money during the holidays to make others happy, on gifts they really don't need. In reality, you shouldn't put yourself in debt to express your love or feel compelled to buy anything.  However, if that is what you like to do, go for it!

As a child, we didn't have a lot of money and didn't get lots of gifts for Christmas.  We would get clothing, one toy that we really wanted (within reason) and then a couple of little gifts that our mom would pick out for us, and we were happy.  Some of my favorite memories of the holidays include digging into my stocking and finding fuzz covered hard candies or visiting my Grandmother and spending time with my cousins.  When I got older and could afford to buy gifts, I would often go overboard.

Having the latest and greatest gadgets, toys or whatever is exciting, but it isn't what Christmas is about.  I will be the first to say that I am guilty of getting caught up in the whole Christmas thing, but as I have gotten older and matured, I feel like just spending special time with my family and making fun memories is more important.

Every year, I use to go out and spend lots of money on my family and friends.  I did it because I wanted to, not because I expected anything back.  My gifts were often accepted with negative remarks, like "why did you do that?" or "I didn't get you anything and now I feel bad."  Sometimes I even received rude, immature replies, like "You only got me something so I would get you something."  This often left me upset, perplexed and added a real damper to my holiday.  So, this year, I have decided not to give gifts to extended family and friends.  I will only be giving gifts to my immediate family and the children of my siblings.  I will however, bake some homemade cookies to bring to those family and friends that I no longer will be purchasing gifts for,  and add a little note wishing them a holiday filled with happy memories.  I think they will like that even more.

I will continue to spread my holiday cheer doing what we do every year, donating to local charities that provide clothing and hot meals to those in need.  Of course, I will attend mass with my family as well. To me, this is what Christmas is really about.

As the Grinch once said, "Maybe Christmas doesn't come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.