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As a child, I remember my father saying Christmas in America was all about the loot. I remember watching an in law family showering their grown children and toddling grandchildren with so many gifts at the Christmas we shared that the opening started at 9 ended at 2 or 3 in the morning as we all oooed and ah-ed over gifts individually opened and displayed. As a young adolescent, I was embarrassed at the disproportionate "wealth" displayed between our families. As an adult, I watched my own inlaw family shower us with Santa Claus chairs because there were so many little things that no stocking was big enough and then the opening of family gifts. It was such a financial struggle for us to meet the expectations so carefully not spoken but so carefully signaled with Christmas lists, postures, grimaces, false smiles, and inquiries about return policies. Now I have become my father -- not a curmudgeon as I thought -- but a sad observer -- yes, Christmas in America is about the loot and I just want to get together with people I love and care about who want to be with me instead of checking the obligatory "Christmas list" has been filled.Thank you for your thoughts. I don't feel so out of step.