Today's prompt is: a choice.
Not that this was all that much of a choice for us, since our bank accounts kind of made the decision, but Christmas is going to have a very different look and feel for us this year.
I'm not going to preach at you about consumerism and capitalism and whatever other ism is taking a beautiful holiday and making it into who can buy whom the most crap. BUT being at the lower end of the wealth totem pole, preparing for Christmas seems to get more and more stressful each year. Wanting to buy nice things for all the people you love, and feeling like you have to buy things for people you've always bought stuff for... and being really bummed out when you realize you CAN'T buy All. The. Things.
When my kids get into school and start seeing what their friends have, I know it's going to be stressful to "keep up" with the things they just HAVE to have. But maybe, right now, we have the opportunity to teach them that Christmas isn't about the things you get so much as it's about family, and just being together. CORNY!!
But seriously, I want them to be more excited about baking cookies, watching Elf & The Santa Clause, and decorating the tree than to be just tunnel-vision focused on what they are going to get.
We have a chance to show them how rewarding it feels to donate things, time or even a little bit of money to charity, instead of making a huge gift list and expecting to get it all. I'm not saying that we aren't going to get our girls presents. In fact, the bulk of our Christmas gift budget (hahaha) will be spent on them. Hopefully friends and family who normally get gifts (however small) will understand that even though they are getting baked goods and kid-made crafts this year, we still love them as much as we did when we got them actual presents...
|These look better than a boring old scarf to me!|
This year the "actual presents" will go to the kids -- our kids and their cousins -- because they are (or I think should be) what Christmas is all about. When I was growing up, we always got so much (or what I feel like is so much -- the rich kids likely got even more). We always had piles and piles of presents to open and while that was amazing and I'm thankful that our parents did that for us, I don't know that our kids will have the same experience. Some years may be fatter than others, but most will be about as lean as they can get. I just hope that by choosing to make Christmas as much about the intangible as possible, we can all enjoy the holiday season more -- without ending up like this: