In Writing

I never thought it would come to this but it has: I don’t want any more gifts for Christmas. I don’t want my Christmas to be about “stuff” anymore.

I have always been a bottomless pit of present-loving. Long after the age people stopped being giddy about their birthdays, I persisted. (Truth be told, I don’t see that stopping any time soon). I always felt the excitement of a five-year-old at Christmas. I absolutely loved unwrapping a gift. I really love surprises.

But now that’s changing. I still love the holiday, by the way. I decked out my house and marvel over the bows and the nutcrackers every day. It’s the buying and getting of stuff I’m getting bored of. More than anything, I’ve caught this lack of materialism from my kids, both of whom were impossible to shop for this Christmas because they (and I quote them here), “Have everything they want.” What? There can be an end of want? Growing up poor as I did, I never thought that was possible.

But it is. And I’m so grateful.

My kids are getting older. Present-giving has gotten more transactional. So for next year, I floated the idea that we might do a Yankee swap or some such game where we each buy one present instead of each buying stuff for everyone. I thought I’d be roundly shot down. But, nope. Everyone thought it was a great idea, the kids especially (full disclosure: they’ll still make out like bandits with cash and gift cards and presents from Dad, so it’s not like they’re completely the Mother Theresa of teenagers, although they are fairly selfless). Still, I love the idea of the lead-up to the holiday being more about enjoying than stressing what to get everyone. I’m looking forward to it already. And I wonder what traditions of helping others we might start when we spend less time dreaming up things to spend our money on.

But first there’s this Christmas to get through, a day of laughter and great conversations and good food and all my favorite people. I will spend my day counting my bountiful blessings. I hope your holiday is wonderful too.


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