Outgrowing Christmas


Finally, after 24 years, it’s happened. I’ve outgrown Christmas.

My best Christmas was when I was 5 years old. I still thought Santa Clause was real and would you believe it, he bought me a shiny new bike. I often wonder how I could have been so foolish as to believe in Santa, but when you go to bed on Christmas Eve, excited about the gifts that await you, and you wake up the next morning to find a new bicycle has magically appeared under the Christmas tree, then it’s quite easy. After all, how else would the bike appear if it wasn’t for Santa?

For a few years I continued to go to bed, unable to sleep due to excitement. I’d wake my parents up at 4am on Christmas morning, drag them downstairs and find the living room filled with presents. At the top of my lungs I would shout “MAM! MAM! SANTA’S BEEN!” Christmas was the best time of the year, no school, numerous toys and all the food you could eat. There’s a song that goes “I wish it could be Christmas every day…” and I would literally wish that would happen. I used to close my eyes and wish I’d go to sleep and it would be Christmas all over again the next day. And the next. And the next.

Then one year, my world was shattered. It was lunchtime at school and I was standing in the queue with my friend, talking with excitement about what I hoped Santa would be brining me. An older child turned to me, a smug grin on his face. “You do know that Santa doesn’t exist, right?” I was disappointed, but for some reason I wasn’t surprised, maybe deep down I always knew he didn’t really exist, but the pleasure of pretending he did was overpowering? It was not so much that I believed, but that I wanted to believe.

I looked at the older boy, with a straight face, and not wanting to seem like I wasn’t in on the secret I nodded to him “of course I know Santa doesn’t exist!” The words hurt as they came out of my mouth.

From then on Christmas changed. I was no longer the child that dreams of Santa’s gifts. I was now a greedy consumerist whore. If Santa didn’t bring me everything I wanted, that was fine, he had to deliver presents to every kid in the world, if he forgot a few things off my list then it was understandable. But if my parents didn’t give me everything I wanted. Well, that’s different isn’t it? They only have one child to deliver to. Me! So where the hell is the Lego set I wanted?! Why don’t I have my Lego set!? Give me my God damn LEGO SET!

Still, for years onwards Christmas was exciting. Even without Santa there was a bounty of presents and fun to be had. I still couldn’t sleep at night because I knew that tomorrow I’d be ripping wrapping paper off my presents and playing with my new toys.

Then finally I was old enough to get a job, which was old enough to buy any present I wanted for myself, any time I wanted. Yet even then, Christmas was still fun. I was still that consumerist whore. As long as I was still receiving gifts then Christmas was meaningful. There was still excitement left because I was still getting stuff. Everybody wants more stuff! It makes us happy!

Time moved on. I slowly started to realise that stuff doesn’t make us happy after all. Material possessions are worthless. When you’re on your deathbed, do you think back to every TV you’ve owned and say “man, my life was good, I once owned a 70 inch plasma.” I doubt it. Instead you think back on every friend you’ve had and every person you’ve loved. Every happy moment. That’s what I hope anyway.

Despite all this, Christmas has still been alive in me. I’ve still bought gifts for my friends. Still enjoyed the process of Christmas somewhat. This year though something changed.

For the past few years my friend and I have always had the same conversation leading up to Christmas. We moan about how hard it is to buy gifts for people, how we have no ideas. Eventually this leads to us buying “drawer presents” for people. What’s a “drawer present”? Well, you know when you get a present from somebody, you use it once, then it ends up sitting at the bottom of your drawer, for years, completely unused? That’s a drawer present. It’s something that is almost completely useless, a waste of money. You buy it for a friend just because you have to buy them something. They buy you one too, because they have to buy you something too.

For my friend and I, the majority of things are drawer presents. Only two things aren’t. Clothing and books. We both know clothing is something we’d rather buy ourselves, because then we get something we like. So, we could buy each other books? But there’s a problem…my friend just bought a Kindle. Mother fu-

So we decided that this year, instead of buying gifts, we’d just go out for a meal to a restaurant. No cards. No gifts. Just food. Normal food. Like any other week. We have officially outgrown Christmas. I no longer wish it could be Christmas every day. But that doesn’t matter, there may be no more gifts, but there’s still friends and that was all that really mattered anyway, right?

10 thoughts on “Outgrowing Christmas”

    1. NEVER! Bah humbug, I say! BAH HUMBUG!

      I think if I ever have kids (…have to find a wife first…) then Christmas will come back with a vengeance. I might even find myself dressing up as Santa! Dear lord…I might even have fun!

  1. It seems to me that you chose to outgrow Christmas, and I personally don’t think that’s a good idea… My Christmas celebration is different from Western people, and so I buy/make a gift for my friends not because I have to – it’s because i love to.

    I agree that Christmas is not about material possession. So… smile (sincerely) for Christmas, Mr. Dan!

    *Merry Christmas to my fav blog author* ;D

    1. I guess you are right. It was easy for me to outgrow Christmas though, I don’t have a big family and we’re not very close. Christmas is a day when we’re forced to spend time together, which just leads to lots of petty arguments because we can’t stand each other. Haha. What gifts have you made this year? Where’s my gift?! I WANT A GIFT! GIMME GIMME!

      Merry Christmas to one of my favourite fans!

      1. Oh your gift? I’ve just sent it (it’s not really a gift though… oh well, it depends on how you perceive it I guess..)

        This Christmas, for me, is another Christmas miles away from my friends and family, so I made no gifts and bought no gifts (but I did lots of gift wrapping for others and really enjoyed it). I sent ecards and text messages instead – that’s somewhat fun!

  2. Commercialism drives Christmas these days, at least here in the States. The essence was lost long ago and replaced with news reports of stampedes at local discount stores.

    That said, as a child my Dad was on the roof stomping around and the rest of the family was in my room telling me to go to sleep or Santa wouldn’t come down the chimney. I knew then Santa didn’t exist as Dad was the only one NOT in my room at the time 🙂

    At that point I just kept thinking he was going to fall off the roof just like Oliver Hardy did so many times.

    Dan, when you find a wife and have kids you’ll find Christmas again. It’s what we do as parents; give the magic back to our children. Just don’t fall off of the roof.


    1. Cheers for the comments, Jeff.

      Yeah, I agree, one day maybe there’ll be little Dans running around my feet at Christmas and then I’m sure I’ll get my Christmas spirit back. Have to find that elusive wife first though! Hell, I need to find the even more elusive girlfriend before that!

      Maybe I’ll just adopt and skip the whole wife part…I’m lazy.

  3. I completely agree with this. Christmas has become far too materialistic. I think I outgrew the excitement of gift-opening when I turned eight. I hate the attention, and I would much rather shower everyone else with gifts than open theirs. But I’ve also never believed in Santa. My parents decided when we were born that they would not raise us to believe someone like Santa existed. That way, they would never have to deal with a disappointed little boy and two girls running home crying because some horrible kid broke the news. They did, however, inform us of the other kids at school who did believe in him, and that telling them that Santa isn’t real was a very mean thing to do. I believe this was a smart move on my parents’ part, and I think I may do the same with my own kids one day. But for the most part, Christmas for me is a day (or the full month of December) for being grateful for what we have and spending time with those who matter the most. I’m always thinking of the ones who don’t have such luxeries, and it makes me sad that a great many people have made Christmas so commercialized.

    I love your blog, it makes me smile – and laugh occasionally, when appropriate. And thank you for liking my post. You’re my first ‘like’, and that made me smile too.


    1. Woah. I do like a giant comment. A woman after my own heart!

      I wonder, did your family raise you as an atheist? I just think there would be a lovely irony if they taught you that Santa didn’t exist but they did raise you to believe God does.

      I’m glad you appreciated the like. I’ve started to hand out likes whenever I enjoy something as I hate how so many people read my articles but don’t acknowledge the fact. It’s good to feel some appreciation when you’ve worked hard!

      1. They raised us Christian. My mom was raised Catholic, my dad Mennonite. I believe in God, though I don’t go to church because I am quite unsocial and don’t like to discuss religion because it makes me uncomfortable. So I usually just keep to myself. Ironically, my boyfriend doesn’t believe in God, so we never talk about it, but when I do occassionally pray or talk about it, he supports me and never says anything negative or opinionated. And I’m the same. I respect anything anyone believes in, whether I agree or not.

        I appreciate any blog love I get. I really think it helps spread the confidence to write and post more photographs, knowing someone gives a shit out there.

        And what blogger doesn’t love giant comments? : )

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