When you're a kid, Christmas means presents. I remember the excitement of my brother and I. We would start browsing toy catalogues in November, pick one item, and write Santa a letter with carefully cut pictures and drawings as to clear up any confusion on his end. Waiting a whole month never failed to fire up our imagination.
We learned about Santa's secret at some point, and from there it started being less about the magic of Christmas, and more about the material pleasures of the consumer society. We didn't have pocket money, so Christmas was this time of the year where our parents could afford to buy us a video game or two.
I stopped asking for presents in high school and would save the gift money received from my uncles and aunts. I didn't need it, except perhaps for the occasional movie with friends at the theater.
My family isn't rich by any means. I was taught to not spend money on things I don't need at an early age. I was in college when I used my scholarship to offer a present to my brother and my parents for the first time. I think it's also the only time I did that. I got expelled from college soon after and my parents didn't want me to spend on them money I might need later.
I obtained my first wage last year, but I wasn't there for Christmas and spend it in SE Asia by myself. Another missed opportunity, but an experience that taught me how important family is.
When you grow up, Christmas means family, and today, I received the payment of my first writing gig. $300. I didn't spend any money I received from making digital products yet, but I'll make an exception with those $300 to buy some presents before coming back to France this Saturday. I'm so excited to be back, celebrate my wins, and give back to the persons who made me the way I am.