I've discussed this with a friend in an email earlier (lol yeah, some people still send emails :P) and just thought I'd share the same thing with you guys/girls here.
It's something I've been becoming aware of more and more over the last few years and this year it really just sunk in and solidified. Remember when Christmas (or even just the holidays in general) meant a whole lot of hustle bustle, time spent getting things ready, shopping for 'mega gifts' and items you were sure would make Christmas a 'big' thing, decorating for the occasion and more or less succumbing to an entire holiday that seemed to suck so much more time away from your life - at least in preparing for it than the actual time spent enjoying it? I sure as hell do. We may not have ever gone 'CRAZY' with Christmas as much as some families do, but there effeminately seemed to be a whole lot involved in the entire scheme of it all.
This year was a bit different. For a few reasons, one being my mother and her inability to get up and do things as easily as she'd like, our time focused on helping her out and getting any tasks she'd normally take charge of into our already busy schedules, stuff like Christmas shopping, Christmas dinner, tree decorating, getting gifts for others ready, and so on. (She had to have more surgery early this December, which went well btw, she's recovering nicely). Couple that with the passing of one of my Aunts a few days before Christmas (she's been battling cancer for years, we knew this was coming, but that doesn't make it suck any less) and we've got a lot on our minds to say the least. But, we managed, just fine, to get things done.
Come Christmas morning... the day had a different feel. Our family's tradition is to wait until everyone is up (or wake them up :P) and open gifts together, sharing what each has gotten and from whom, during this I noticed how nice it was to just sit down and enjoy some down time. Quiet, something played on the radio in the background as we systematically tore through the piles of gifts anointed to each member. There were your typical "I didn't know what to get, so ... here's something random sweets, clothes or other impersonal gift" but then there's those gifts that you know mean something. It's interesting because they can be the tiniest things too. For me, I got a book mark (I've been reading a lot lately) with Michael Scott on it (of The Office, a show I enjoy very much) from my brother... and while it was a small, simply gift... I loved it because it encompassed 2 wonderful things I'm into and it took thought on behalf of my brother to connect those.
I also got a small Batman figure from my cousin's girl friend, Just because she "Spotted it and thought of me". I was floored by how awesome that was. I noticed a few other instances in my families' gift unwrapping where you could tell there was something more to the gift than the actual item. That coupled with the low key, quite peacefulness of the entire rest of the day and I'm left in awe at the awesomeness of this Christmas, despite there being some large bumps in the road on the way there.
Which outlines the bottom lining to the whole idea. Christmas and anything really, is so much nicer and meaningful if you just take time to breathe; time to sit back and enjoy the downtime from the hecticness of life and also just enjoy the thought put into the bobbles purchased for you based on your character.
That said, it's always nice to receive some kewl gifts as well. Here's a few of the kewl items I am proud to of received this year:
3 books, Bioshock: Rapture, Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth and Deus Ex: Icarus Effect - all video game related, and all sound REALLY sweet. I love reading a book based on a game I already love. They all look a bit shorter than Im use to, so it should take too long to get through them.
2 Games - Metal Gear Solid HD Collection, which I was PUMPED for :D Can't wait to get into it and Assassin's Creed Brotherhood, a game I've been meaning to get and now don't need to, thanks to my bro.
3 movies/dvds - Super8 on Blu-Ray as I loved seeing it in theaters. Didn't like the ending, but the rest of the movie made me smile. Batman Year one - Haven't seen and the box set of Batman Beyond :) Yay batman :)
These items made me smile the most. I got a pair of leather driving gloves from my sis that have already come in handy :) *Get it, handy? :P lol. Gift cards, money and other things fill up the rest of the space (gift cards are so lazy IMO). Over all, very kewl Christmas. How about you?