Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

With December comes the “holiday season”. That’s the politically correct term for it. One tries to be politically correct, but sometimes it’s a challenge. I send out Christmas cards, but not as many as in years past. The postage can be prohibitive, so it’s not an action to be taken lightly.

I try to be sensitive if I am sending a card to someone who I know happens to hate organized religion. There’re a few of them among my family and friends. So I have Santa cards, and other cards that might just say, “Season’s Greetings”. And thinking about it now, I realize how silly that really is, in a way.

Why would I need to send a Christmas card to someone who doesn’t believe in Christmas? People will answer that and say, well, you know, Morgan, it’s the polite thing to do. And it is—of course it is. I can support that statement despite the fact that no one has ever sent me a card for a single non-Christian holiday. Maybe there aren’t any cards for Hanukkah or Kwanzaa or...whatever other non-Christian holidays that in my ignorance, I’ve never heard of.

Conversely, I don’t think I have ever personally heard anyone make a fuss if I wish them Merry Christmas and they’re not Christian. Most people I know of different religions, when I say “Merry Christmas”, respond with a “thank you”, and quite often, “and the same to you”. Likely because they know that behind the words there is only a wish for good things for them in the days to come.

I was very pleasantly surprised last night as I was watching television—there were some commercials where the advertisers actually said, “Merry Christmas”. Good. Let’s not go all silly about what we call the holiday. Let’s call it what it is, and then move on.

My favorite thing about this time of year is giving. I love to give—sometimes much to my beloved’s dismay. I was showing him the budget for Christmas that I’d worked out on Monday, breaking down what was going to be spent and where. For a little while he niggled, as he invariably does. To the tune of twenty dollars here, twenty-five dollars there. Yes, yes, I believe in being frugal and I am most of the year. For the most part.


But there comes a point where frugality ends and miserliness begins, and my beloved was standing on the far side of that line and looking like he might want to settle in for a bit.

As has been mentioned before in these words of mine, one of us is generous and one of us is not. Compromise is key to the health of any marriage—even at Christmas. We do take turns “winning” our way. So I told my beloved he was perfectly free to disagree with me about the Christmas list, as long as he realized that in the end, we were going to do things my way.

That came as no surprise to him, and he even laughed.

There are other gifts, of course, that he doesn’t argue over. There are charitable donations to be made, and there are gifts related to my career—tokens of appreciation to my professional colleagues and associates.

I am reminded that it wasn’t so long ago that my beloved’s treasured personal philosophy won the day just about every year. He used to tell everyone he shopped at the dollar store. Twenty relatives, twenty dollars, twenty gifts. When you’re trying to raise a family and there are sisters and brothers, aunts and uncles, and cousins by the dozens that is absolutely the way to go.

But we are now “dinks”. Do you remember that acronym from the eighties? It stands for “double income, no kids”. For us, in my opinion, the meaning of that term is clear.

Now that we are dinks, we don’t need to be dinks about giving gifts at Christmas.



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