All I Want For Christmas Is . . . Nothing!

Am I un-American or anti-religious when I tell you something I’ve been trying to say for years, but have been afraid of hurting your feelings?

I want nothing for Christmas!

There. I got it off my chest and hope you don’t hold it against me. I don’t want to spoil your holiday festivities or sound like some Grinch. But, I simply can’t think of anything I want to find tucked under tree branches Christmas morning.

I’m not opposed to gift-giving. I plan to help fulfill some of the “dreams” my family has for making themselves feel good: new clothes, the latest electronic gadgets, and books. I’ll get them fat on chocolates; dose them with heavenly scented perfumes and after-shaves, while opening their eyes and ears to their sought-after DVD movie and/or musical CD.

But don’t ask me to “want” something, to “desire” something. I’ve been working on cutting back on wants and desires all year long, and now you want to know what can make me happy. Other than peace in the world and more willing to give and take by our political parties to help nations everywhere, I really don’t want anything.

Oh, I’ll submit a “wish list” of things I think will make you happy in providing them for me. Get me some Mexican Hats, you know, the forerunner of the Gummy candy. Throw in some Red Hot Dollars, another candy from my childhood that I could not quite give up when becoming an adult.

I’ll write down a slew of books, but will accept them only if they are “used.” I don’t want the newest one from the New York Times best-sellers list. Heck, I wouldn’t even know any of those titles anyway. Most of the books on my list will be like those I’ve been reading all year-long to help me grow less attached to things.

I’ve been trying to detach myself from things I thought were important in life, but have learned that not only could I do without them, I was better off not even “thinking” about them.

I don’t look at advertisements in magazines. When I watch a sports or talk-show television program, I mute and turn my head away from the four or five 30-second commercials during the station break. I don’t feel a bit slighted by being uninformed about that “buy-me now” world bombarding me and you and the rest of our viewing society.

I’ve been successful in some things, but I know I could easily fall back to my old self that believed the more I could gain, the happier I’d be. I’d have treasures of new things up the ying-yang. I’d be thrilled for a while. But every last one would lose its happiness quotient in time. They had no staying power. They offered me nothing but hollow hope that was enticing at first, but so unfulfilling in the long run.

So, I’ll smile when we exchange gifts and try to make you feel good about making me feel good. I would rather prefer you truly give of yourself — openly and honestly —  and, as God is my witness, I promise you that they’re gifts that I will never seek to return.

11 comments on “All I Want For Christmas Is . . . Nothing!

  1. Could not agree with you more Michael. I’ve been Buddhist since 1990, in college, when I decided to take refuge in the three gems. But I’m the only “kid” now that Mike’s gone. I tried off and on throughout the years to tell my folks that I do not need anything. And for several years, they found angel trees and bought a little boy a bike, to make up for Mike. And I thought that was great. They’ve tried doing a Buddhist Christmas… which means Thich Nhat Hanh calendars, a book by Pema Chodron or HHDL. And those things are lovely and I appreciate them.
    BUT, my parents are in their 70s and I’m in my 40s. I have a job that does nothing for me but give me money twice a month. If I see something I want, I buy it. And I’ve come to be that way with my folks. . . It’s February, September, whenever and if it touches me heart and I hope it touches theirs, than I get it. I have no idea how much time any of us have with each other. Dad’s side of the family dies relatively young and mom’s side lives long lives of suffering. I have surgery coming up in the Spring and who knows what will happen. I might not buy ornaments, or stocking stuffers, or popcorn balls, but I will make sure, before I hang up from my loved ones that they know that they are my world. Before surgery, I will have letters for them, in case I am not okay afterwards. I’m quicker to apologize, quicker to say I love you, and quicker to share things via text, email, etc if it’s on my mind. Those who I love KNOW that I love them. Wasting money on pretty foil wrap, to me, is a waste of the energy I could be spending on them.
    I hope you find peace tucked away in the back pages of a book, maybe wrapped in a lace hanky from the last reader. Maybe it will be a flower in the spring, where there has never been one. . . All I know is that I hope you get all your wishes fulfilled because Peace is something we all need.

    Metta, Jennifer


  2. My sentiments exactly!


  3. souldipper says:

    You’ve written my story, today, Michael J. I wrote a message last week to my “gift givers” and asked them to not buy any gifts for me. If they cannot put a message in a card or on a piece of paper, I asked them to give something they already own.

    One of the greatest gifts anyone can give me is a little piece of their time…that’s love to me.


    • contoveros says:

      Giving a little piece of your time means so much more than any thing you could buy at the store.

      A piece of time from a true friend gives me a longer lasting “peace” of time.


  4. p.s. I hope you don’t mind, but I linked your blog to BFF (Blogging for Fun) on Facebook. Your blog happens to be in line with our Monday topic this week. You can see here:

    If you are active on Facebook, we would love for you to join our writing group. Also, we are in cooperation with other blogging groups who offer a weekly inspiration. We are all on Facebook, but you can see it all in one place @ One Stop Blog World here:

    I have been reading you for a while. I just want you to know that I enjoy your blogs and I would love it if you would join us in BFF.


    • contoveros says:

      Thank you and, by all means, blog away with anything you might find useful here.

      I’ve only recently entered the world of FaceBook, and will have to check out the writing group once I get my sea legs. I’m still trying to learn how to navigate without sinking my boat or crashing onto someone else’s sensibilities.


  5. Finally…a kindred spirit! I beg my family to leave me off their gift list because I’m sentimental enough to hang on to whatever someone gives me, even if still in it’s original box 20 years later. I try and try to reduce my life to simple and uncluttered. I do pretty good until I get to a “sentimental” item. Then I hesitate…and waiver…and put it back. I have numerous small, dollar store type gifts from the children in the family. I try very hard to use those items because those are the things that make me smile. But I can live without knick knacks, jewelry, books I did not choose to read, etc. And…did I mention that I am allergic to most scents? What a waste of money! I would rather they drop their money in the nearest Salvation Army kettle.


    • contoveros says:

      “. . . I try and try to reduce my life to simple and uncluttered . . .”

      I like “simple and uncluttered” and wish to lead my life this way without doing harm to anyone else.

      Psst . . . Get the used books. You can always pass them on to people you know can use them the rest of the year, Darlene.

      Nice to meet you too!

      michael j


  6. Viv says:

    All I really want for Christmas is peace: peace for the world, but selfishly, peace in my heart and mind.


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