I am really starting to hate Christmas.
This time of year, I feel an extreme amount of pressure and anxiety. There is SO MUCH emphasis put on GIVING and SPENDING money, that over the last few years I have hardly wanted to do Christmas at all. Around this time of the year I feel stretched so thin and it has really sucked the joy out of the holiday season. I feel a little guilty, because it is almost as if I have forgotten what Christmas is all about.
I have been completely brainwashed my the media and have fallen victim to Christmas being about PRESENTS, PRESENTS, PRESENTS! Everyone wants and expects PRESENTS! I spend all of December wracking my brain, trying to buy the perfect present for EVERYONE! Friends, family, teachers, homies… oh, we can’t forget my cousin’s boyfriends, sister and her six kids, (they are close to being family so they all need gifts too, right)?! I mean, COME ON! All of this expectation for gift-giving is DRAINING!
Let’s be honest, we are not obligated to buy anyone anything. Receiving a gift, no matter how big or small, is a blessing. Don’t get me wrong, some of those I listed above are SO deserving and will always receive a little something, but I won’t buy for ALL like I use to. I will also be getting very creative with what I give and how, because I would like to give more to those who are in need.
When it comes to my kids, spare no expense. They must have 35 toys a piece, because they’re not spoiled enough the other 364 days a year. Of course, it is not fun unless you can post a picture of 1,000 gifts under your tree. So let me waste time and money buying them toys they play with on Christmas and never touch again, or toys that have one million parts and they lose one piece and the toy is useless, or buy a toy they didn’t even ask for, but since the tree looks bare, I bought anyway.
I have slowly been trying to escape Christmas. Three years ago, we packed one suitcase of toys and spent seven days in Mexico. The vacation itself was the gift and I have never felt more relaxed. I bought NOTHING FOR ANYONE other than my kids and our immediate family. It was one of my favorite Christmas’ to date.
I want to feel like that again.
This year, I am determined to get that carefree Christmas feeling back. The older I get, the more I realize the meaning of Christmas is Jesus, family time and traditions. I would rather spend my time and money creating memories and traditions, things my kids can do with their kids and so on and so on. Traditions like going to Snowflake Lane, having fun with the Elf on the Shelf, attending Zoo Lights, baking cookies, and making gingerbread houses together. Those are the things my kids will remember and cherish. They probably could not name three gifts over the years that they cherish, but I bet they remind me to take them to Snowflake Lane year after year.
I told my kids this year they get five gifts. I was kind of nervous that this decision wouldn’t be well received. My eight-year-old looked at me and said, “Mommy, why do we only get five gifts this year? I’m not mad, I’m just curious.” I simply asked, “What do you need?”
This was just an affirmation that my kids want and need nothing. I know I am doing the right thing by refocusing their attention on the real reason for the season. Taking all the gimme, gimme, gimmies and toys, toys, toys, away, and helping them come to the realization that they are so well-loved, they don’t need one thousand toys. It can really help them focus on appreciating what they have and the importance of giving to others in need.
I am excited to put a new spin on Christmas this year. Less emphasis on receiving, and more emphasis on family, traditions, giving, and the entire reason for the season,