I scaled back my expectations (for myself) this year.
Interestingly, there have been a number of blogs out there discussing not doing Christmas. Rather, these families have decided either not to buy presents for their children or to spend their entire holiday serving others in some way. There are also others than are limiting Christmas gifts in light of their (sudden?) realization that America is grossly commercialized and greedy. Then there are those that liken Santa to Satan (see! same letters! oops, I meant “santa” but typed “satan” ha ha ha!) and think allowing children some childhood magic is akin to abuse. (obviously I am not talking about people with rational reasons to explain St. Nicholas instead of Santa Claus or people who don’t judge those who “believe” in Santa). (you know of whom I speak write).
Little Man will be two in three weeks (gulp). He hasn’t noticed Santa anywhere. He hasn’t noticed the rapidly growing stack of wrapped presents on the kitchen island. We talk about Baby Jesus, but he is way more interested in Baby Jesus being on top of his Little People stable while Mary yucks it up with the sheep and the horse inside the stable than actually playing out the Christmas story with the characters. Charlie Brown? Not interested. The movies “The Santa Clause 2” and “Miracle on 34th Street” that we watched a few weeks ago when we were sick? Not interested.
So I’m not too concerned about the santa/satan thing right now. We’ll tackle that next year. But the present thing? I see why some parents go nuts at Christmas. And I tend to be more of the simplicity type. But, boy, did I want to buy everything I saw for Little Man while I was shopping!!
I have contemplated for a year about presents. Three to represent the three gifts given to Christ? More? Less? None? We decided on four: something you want, something you need, something to play with and something to read. We also have a budget ($50 for the four presents, combined). But again, I wanted to buy a ton more.
Because I love my son.
See… Jesus was God’s gift to us. Because He loves us. We celebrate Jesus’ birth by giving gifts to those we love. At least, that’s how it works in my family. So I want to give gifts to my son. I want to give gifts to my husband, and my parents, and my brother’s family, and my best friend. Gifts are, in fact, my love language! So I don’t understand NOT giving gifts at Christmas to the people you are supposed to love the most (and gifts, Rachel, could be a water buffalo!!!).
(sidenote: gifts could be food, time, acts of service. they don’t all have to be from a store or wrapped in Christmas paper. that is all.)
I think there is a balance to be achieved: mass consumerism vs heartfelt expressions of love. I love my son, so I bought him the Little People’s Noah’s Ark. But we also did a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child.
Oh, and if you remember from my last post… we have a crazy weekend coming up. Essentially from 5:00 Friday night until 5:00 Monday night, we are booked solid. Pray for my sanity. And my patience. And our health 🙂
And I hope you find the right balance for your family. But most of all, I hope that if you love Christ, your family knows it from your actions.