Can you believe it is December 4th?? I know, crazy. I have taken a brief hiatus from blogging recently due to a little person growing inside of me & causing me to be extremely tired & extremely nauseous…all. day. long.
But tonight has been relatively queasy-free so I’m going to do a little post on Christmas. Yesterday, while listening to a Pandora holiday station, I finally found the energy to decorate our little house and I have to say, I’m feeling more & more in the holiday spirit! I seriously love everything about Christmas time: the baked goods (baking & eating them), warm cups of hot cocoa, the music, the lights, the snow, the trees & tinsel, the anticipation of advent, the quality time spent with family & friends, the cozy clothes & quiet nights, the peace on earth – goodwill toward men, and everything else that represents this happy & holy time of year.
This year I’ve been struggling a little bit with the idea of “gift giving.” Christmas (to me) really is one of the most wonderful times of the year, but every year I get bogged down by the shopping/gifts/materialism/consumerism of it all. All of the things I listed above could still be a representation of the holiday with or without gift giving/receiving. Here are some of my struggles:
1) How do I make meaningful Christmas traditions for our family without turning our kids into selfish, ungrateful, present-mongers every December?
2) How do we celebrate with our families without a) going into debt & b) just swapping gifts that we already knew we were getting (i.e. a gift exchange with family, but you tell each other exactly what you want to be given)?
I’ve been rolling these questions around in my head for a few years now & even more now that we’ve begun growing our family. We’ve slowly found some ways to begin our own traditions & bring some of the heart back to the season, such as: giving gifts of TIME all throughout the month (baking cookies with grandma, watching a Christmas movie with dad, *eventually* spending an afternoon with our kids making homemade cards, etc) and focusing on the quality of gifts vs. quantity (especially with our kids). Some of the ways I’ve tried to make “gift giving” more meaningful in the past few years has been:
- Homemade Gifts – they are my favorite to give AND receive! crochet, bake, modge podge, sew, paint, write, bedazzle, whatever… heck, buy something on etsy!
- Local Gifts – gifts or giftcards from local businesses feels like freeing two birds with one hand! My personal favorites are: eateries, spas, or boutiques!
- Gifts that Give Back – there are so many organizations these days that provide ways for you to “give” to someone in need to “honor” someone you love. Some of my faves are: give clean water, give shoes, give dignity, give rehabilitation.
It will also become important as our kids get older to teach them that Christmas is more about celebrating God being with us – coming to be a part of things here. And that means we can celebrate by being present with the people God has put around us – our friends, family, & neighbors!
May you bring peace to your corner of the earth & may you share goodwill with all people – this season and every season.
ps: NaNoWriMo-reflection coming soon…