Sunday, December 20, 2015

Price of Expectation

Christmas 2015. This is the year of unmet expectations. It's the year of discontent, the year of greed, the year of I-want-more. The difficulty with expectations is this: they can never be satisfactorily met. Never.

I believe this is true because so often we hitch our expectations to a price point. One anniversary the hunk brought me a Hersey bar (regular size). A neighbor happened to be present when he handed me the plastic bag from the grocery store and she expressed strong disapproval because it wasn't a BOX of chocolate. She saw his gift as cheap. I saw the wonder of him actually remembering it was our anniversary!

When the Thanksgiving/Christmas/pick your holiday season rolls around, folks lose their common sense. They rush out to the stores, spending money they don't have, to meet expectations that are greedy and foolish. Why do we foster such expectations?

There are soooo many ways to celebrate the holidays. Yet we teach our children the fine art of demanding more, more, more and struggle to meet their demands. Then, the time rolls around when we can't possibly meet their expectations. What do we do then? You see, there is a PRICE for unrealistic expectation.

The meanings of holiday celebrations are lost in our rush to provide more, more, more. It doesn't matter whether it's a foolish embarrassment of food (when folks around us are going hungry) or a gaudy display of decorations or so many presents we don't have room to put them under the tree. What is that all about?

A few years ago, my parents were with my dad's siblings for Christmas. They made a pact that they wouldn't spend more than $2 per person for their gifts to each other...including the wrapping. Then they struck out to see how far their ingenuity would take them. My dad is eighty-five years old. He grew up in an era when ONE present was a big deal. His mother told us the story of the year when she and her sisters received one doll to share. They thought it was miracle.

When we allow our expectations to get out of hand, we pay a terrible price. We lose our appreciation of the simple pleasure of receiving a gift. When was the last time you really took pleasure in something someone gave you? How long ago was that? Too long, I bet.

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