I had a friend down the street who lived with his married sister. His household was also crazy. He was a total outsider in their house and wasn't included in any Christmas activities there. The weekend after Christmas he and I were doing god knows what over in Houghton Park and saw these two kids riding around on their brand new Schwinn Sting Ray type bicycles. I'm sure they got them for Christmas. We were totally jealous and asked if we could ride them. They said no, and when we couldn't convince them otherwise, we just took them. They didn't want to give them up, but they truly had no choice in the matter.
You know, although I feel terrible about this now. I didn't feel a thing at the time. Well, that's not entirely true. I felt very angry at those kids and would have gladly beaten the crap out of them. They had new bikes, and I had a new pair of pajamas. Oh yeah, and a broken Stadium Checkers game. I didn't even really want the bike. I wanted one of my own. I hated those kids for getting something nice for Christmas.
We knew we couldn't just ride these bikes around openly because people would be looking for them, and us, maybe even the police. So we hid them in a shed across the alley from my friend's house. We then shoplifted some spray paint, stripped the bikes down, and changed their colors. We didn't even get to really enjoy them because somebody stole them out of the shed after we'd only ridden them a few times.
For the next few decades, the holiday season mostly depressed me, or I just tried to ignore it all together. I usually had to administer some self prescribed medication (if you know what I mean), and lots of it, to make it through that time of the year.
It took having kids (and lot's of therapy) for me to understand what it was all about. I know my appreciation of the holiday season isn't what it should be, even today. But I love seeing young ones eat it all up. I understand that it's a happy time. And that you don't need a lot of money for it to be good, you just need to be around those you love. Then it all falls into place.