I’m not a particularly religious person, nor were my parents, but I was brought up celebrating Christmas as a kind of cultural tradition. We put up a tree and sang carols and exchanged gifts. My mother always emphasized that we were to take pleasure in picking out gifts for others, moreover, that this was more important than awaiting for gifts yourself.
That was a harder sell to little kids, but I think something must have stuck with me because as I got older the choosing of gifts became my chief joy at Christmas season.
At this stage of my life I am fortunate enough to possess most of the material things that I truly want (as these are usually books or music my wants have rarely broken the bank). It’s been a long time since I was waiting eagerly to see what awaited me under the Christmas tree, but I’ve been able to get excited about getting things for the rest of the family, and watching their surprised and pleased expressions.