Christmas is about love and family, friendship and appreciation, and gratitude for all that God has given us. It is so much more than presents and parties to me. Yet, each year, society places greater focus on the commercialization of the holiday. The getting and giving, the huge sales, and the cost have become very powerful. Many businesses’s yearly profits are made strictly within this season. Christmas has become emotionally and financially stressful as divergence from the reason for the season becomes blurry. There are parts of it that I dread…and, hate. The more I lose touch with my roots and a meaningful, soulful Christmas, the more the holiday seems peculiar, odd and strange.
This year Brian and I have decided to focus on gifts, activities, and celebrations that cost little or no money, are handmade or that allow us an opportunity to return to the things that matter to us. We have discussed our sentiments for years. However, we always get caught up in the hoopla that starts out as fun and ends up un-rewarding for us.
“This year, l want to do it,” Brian told me the other day. His confession is all that was needed to catalyze our first attempt at a special, meaningful holiday.
My fondest recollections are not fantastically, fancily wrapped. The are not from the fourth floor of Rich’s or the shelves of the Hen House. In fact, they are not even found on a single one of my annual wish lists. The memories I cherish most include long drives with rarely seen Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins to find the best decorated houses in South Georgia, sewing a cookie-filled mouse for a friend’s mother, making candles with my sister (heaven help you if you received one of those lovely fire hazards), searches down dirt roads and through fields of Berrien County for the best sticker-tree for ornating with gum drops with my Mother and Grandmother, the quiet of the alter-filled communion at Nashville United Methodist Church, the smell of the ginger bread cookies my Dad gave us each year, the off-tune sound of my mother, my sister and I singing to Christmas Carols blaring from a battery operated tape player in floor board, the taste of a homemade egg custard cake like only my granny could make, and the warmth from the down of my coat in the poorly heated ’68 mustang my Mom drove each year to Nashville.
These are the things that I hold dear. This is what I want to give Beatrice. I want her holiday to revolve around her relationships and our love rather than the PBK catalog or a retail flyer. I hope that Christmas strengthens our knowing of the world and the spirit around us, rather than weakening it or replacing it.
As we attempt to scale back to the basics, I hope our friends and family know that the things we giving, getting and doing mean something to us. I also hope that as we reflect on the decisions of year’s past, that we are thankful that we did this. I hope it is a good decision.
Admittedly, we have challenged ourselves greatly. This is going to be hard for us. However, we are committed to trying.
Do you, too, wonder about what Christmas has become? Or, does it not bother you? Are Brian and I crazy? Have we gone off the deep end? Help. Seriously, tell us. Maybe we are just weird. Maybe your favorite gift is of something big and huge and great. Hmm…I hope we are considering all sides of the season as we embark on creating the traditions of our new little family.
*photo from flickr