I know we're past Christmas, but I just felt like talking a bit about random Christmas stuff. I guess I'll start off with my experiences.
Of course, my Christmas times were not as bad a lot of poor kids out there who are abused or really poor or anything like that. However, considering I grew up mostly middle class (really poor now, but happy), I was still not having good a good Christmas, at least where my parents are concerned. Since they are (or were, in my mother's case) Conservative, they thought I should be a typical girly girl, and mostly bought me clothing, make-up, dolls, and an easy-bake oven, just to name a few things. But I mostly got clothing. I remember crying the first Christmas that happened, which was during my First Grade year. They knew I didn't like those kinds of presents, but they didn't care. Everyone else was nice about gifts, though. I told my girlfriend's parents about it and got me at least one thing I wanted. Not something too expensive, just something to help make me feel better, which it did. They got me a toy dinosaur, which I played with often. My cousin and her family were the ones who got me my Nintendo 64 along with Super Mario 64, which I still have and play with fairly often today. It's also, to this day, my favorite game console ever.
Anyway, don't get me wrong about gifts. I realize that's not what Christmas is all about. I'd seriously be fine with not getting presents. I'm fine with just getting hugs and "Happy Holidays" and "I love you." Maybe sipping hot chocolate while eating popcorn while watching a movie with my girlfriend. Maybe just going to see my cousin and her girlfriend. Something like that. What I don't like is blatantly not soaking in what someone tells them. If I say I don't want a particular gift, don't get it for me. That shows to me you don't care far more than not getting me anything does. Besides, if I'm not going to use it or anything, why bother wasting money on it in the first place? Well, usually, if I do get a gift I don't use, I donate it to charity if I can. Otherwise, I have to wonder why they'd even try.
And, kind of off subject, but my dad was really bad with toys anyway. Not just buying them, but his attitude on them as well. He thought, once I reached the age of thirteen, that I didn't need the toys I had anymore. While I was hanging out with my girlfriend and my cousin, my dad threw a lot of my toys in a big garbage bag, including that dinosaur toy I described earlier. I didn't care for more than half of them, since they were those Barbies and stuff like that, but there were still a lot that I didn't want him to throw away. After my cousin dropped off my girlfriend at her house and took me back home, we noticed that garbage bag out front, which we thought was unusual, so we looked inside. Sure enough, there were my toys. Yet another time I bawled my ass off. My cousin lifted the bag, put it in the trunk of her car, and hugged me until my dad came outside and started bitching at my cousin. My cousin, after she realized the argument was getting too heated, quickly got both her and I into her car and left. Besides the toys she knew I didn't want, which she donated to charity, my cousin kept the toys with her from then on, and she still has them to this day. However, once my girlfriend and I get a decent place with enough room, I'll have them again.
Anyway, besides all of that, I really have to wonder why people even consider giving clothing for Christmas. That's among the worst gift ideas out there because it's probably the gift with the most hassle to it. A lot of people are picky about what kind of clothing they wear. Even if you get something similar in style to what they wear, they still may not like it. Not only that, but you also have to consider if the clothing will fit. Even if you ask what size clothing the gift receiver wears, the clothing still may not fit. For some odd reason, even if, say, a certain pair of pants claims to be a certain size, it may likely feel tighter on you than another pair that claims to be the same size. I've had that happen quite a few times. So considering all of this, clothing will likely need to be returned or exchanged. And to top it all off, clothing is certainly not typically cheap. It's not always the most expensive item on the list, but the bill can rack up pretty damn quick and often leave you with only a few items (unless you buy from a thrift store or something, but that's not what I'm talking about, obviously).
As for Christmas now, though, my family celebrates it usually by giving gag gifts for each other and playing a game while handing them out (a "Which Gift Will You Get" kind of game). We each buy joke gifts (a maximum of three and a minimum of one depending on the number of people playing) and pick a number. Whoever has the lowest number has to go first, and gets to pick any gift they want. As the game goes along, the next person can either trade the gift with another person before them, but cannot trade afterward until their turn comes again. The game is over, obviously, once all of the gifts have been opened and traded.
To demonstrate the kinds of gag gifts we get, we all typically get gifts from just about anywhere, but my cousin has an obvious trademark at this point: Spencer's, possibly some other dumb gift sources. Spencer's has always been one of her favorite stores to go to, which I think should say a lot about her personality. She doesn't normally get anything really bad there, but she tends to find something that's fun for a least a little while. This year, I ended up with something she bought: two rolls of Sarah Palin toilet paper, which I'm thinking she may not have actually found at Spencer's. That one made me laugh the hardest for sure. She also got a screaming slingshot frog, which my girlfriend ended up with, and the What the F*ck game, which my cousin herself ended up with due to a trade. The latter is supposed to be an alcoholic drinking game, but we just drink whatever we want whenever we play. Also, my cousin left an unexpected surprise in the bathroom next to her and her wife's bedroom. Her wife tried to use the toilet paper, but figured out it wouldn't rip. Turned out to be yet another gag item my cousin got from Spencer's. They both laughed about it, but my cousin's wife said she'd find a way to get her back somehow for that. I have to wonder what will happen. And I've got to admit, it was hilarious hearing the way my cousin's wife reacted to the gag toilet paper.
By the way, before anyone complains about the way my cousin treated her wife, her wife knows my cousin well enough to have somewhat known that something like this was going to happen. If anything, she likes that about my cousin.
As for non-gag gifts, we just go out and splurge a bit, if anything. Otherwise, we just spend the whole day together doing whatever we feel like doing.
But now, I feel like talking about one more little thing before ending this post. I feel like discussing this "War on Christmas" bull shit. I don't know the everything behind it, but I definitely find it ridiculous that people get upset over what to say to others. I don't care if you say "Merry Christmas," "Happy Holidays," or even "Happy Kwanza." It's a nice gesture no matter what you say. I, however, personally prefer to say "Happy Holidays," not because I'm an Agnostic Atheist, but because it covers the whole spectrum of the holiday season. If you get upset over that, then fuck you. Anyone can say whatever they want, because it doesn't have to be one way.
Also, just an FYI, Secularists can indeed celebrate Christmas, not just because of the origins of Christmas dealing with the Winter Solstice, but because it's just fun to do something like my family does around this time of year (or any time for that matter, but we still like doing this on December 25th). So yeah, I like celebrating Christmas in that regard nowadays. I obviously didn't use to enjoy Christmas much in the past, but I'm over that now and am having a lot of fun. I hope you are, too.