The Three Guilts of Christmas

I was raised Baptist and now call my self a Unitarian/Universalist, so why do I have this guilt complex? Where does all this guilt come from?

Every Christmas, and more specifically the day of and days after, I get wrapped up in my gnawing feelings of guilt. These feeling basically boil down into three categories.

First, I feel that I didn’t do enough from my family and friends. I should have gotten them something more. I could have spent more time with them. I should have sent out more Christmas cards. (For the record, between my wife and I we sent out over 100 this year.) Is it all those TV ads telling me that I am not a good father/husband/son/friend unless I give until I bleed? Is it jealousy of what others give and get? I don’t know, but it hounds me.

Second, at some point over the stressful holidays someone, that would be me, looses their cool with a son, daughter, or sibling and fusses at them a little too long or loud. Usually the precipitating occurrence is nothing that bad, I just have had enough and blow my top. And then someone cries, or sulks, or withdraws and I feel bad. I know I should do it, and I feel bad when I do, but it happens non-the-less.

Finally, the third one involves the gifts I get. Ninety-nine percent of them are wonderful. In fact I have to say an especially big thanks this year to my wife who got me a wonderful new lens for my camera. But, there is always one present that just is bad, or wrong, or ugly.  And then I feel bad for not liking it. I fell bad for being ungrateful. But how can I be grateful for something I don’t like? But it is the thought that counts, right? Fine. So what am I supposed to do with it? And if I just get rid of it does that make me a bad person? If I really was grateful for the thought, wouldn’t I keep it?

Arrrrgggggg!!!!  Sorry, had to let that out. So, there you have my relief valve of guilt. Hopefully by spilling all this out some of the guilt will go away. It really has been a wonderful Christmas season and in truth I have nothing to complain about or feel guilty about.

If you have any guilt yourself, or ideas on way to deal with the problems I have listed, please give a shout. Really, honestly, I would love to hear what you have to say.

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