I was blessed to spend time with my two sisters today. They had driven across the state to see our grandmother (who is ill) and had some extra time. I really enjoyed our visit!
As I’ve been pondering our conversations while doing pre-Thanksgiving cooking, I’ve come to the realization that Christmas can be an anxiety causing day on the calendar. Too many people to buy for. Not enough money. Too much clutter. The list goes on and on.
But here is the point…Christmas is NOT supposed to cause stress. It’s supposed to be a day to set aside to celebrate the wonderful gift that God gave US. Jesus Christ. The gift that leads us to eternal life by accepting Him as Saviour.
And I’ve started thinking…why do we feel obligated to exchange gifts? When I look back on my childhood memories, I don’t think about the presents. I really can’t remember what I got when I was 8. Or 10. Or 15 for that matter….
I remember going to my aunt’s house. I remember eating lots of good food. I remember cheating at Pictionary. I remember Christmas with Bryan and Jayme, focusing on reading the Christmas story. I remember the year we were in San Diego, and how hard we worked to get together a slideshow of pictures to send to our family and friends.
I don’t remember the stuff. In fact…a lot of that stuff has likely ended up at Goodwill over the years. Or at the dump if it contained little pieces. Those things don’t last long here. I have some cherised gifts that I treasure (like my cast iron and fermenting crock), and I’m thankful for them. But they don’t make the majority of my Christmas memories.
I do remember stressing out that I forgot someone. That I couldn’t find the gift I wanted to buy someone at a price that matched my (low!) budget. The fear that the person would equate how much I spent (or actually didn’t spend) with how much I love them. Stress over the need to get a gift receipt in case it wasn’t right.
I remember feeling guilty when someone in the family who I knew was broke felt like they had to spend a lot of money on my family. Like they had to get a present for each of my kids. And me. And my husband. And we have a big family. I actually felt guilty over having one.
That’s just wrong! Children are NOT meant to be a burden. The Bible describes them as blessings. So why was I feeling the way I was? All of this guilt and fear just creates a spirit of Christmas that is so negative. Those feelings are not what I want for my kids.
I crave a meaningful Christmas with fun memories. Hot chocolate. Singing carols. Helping others. Maybe making a fun slideshow again.
So my family and friends….what if we were to go giftless in 2014? That gives us a whole year to digest the thought. To focus on memories and not material items. To make cookies together. To decorate together. Maybe even volunteer somewhere together and give back to the world a bit. Let’s play a good round of Pictionary (sans cheating….I have grown up a bit over the years!)
If you feel that gifts are a must next year–let’s celebrate our birthdays! They are spread out through the year and don’t hit all at once. Or let’s just go giftless. Works for me!
Thoughts? Have you ever gone giftless? Tips for making it work?Anyone going to join me for our gift-less Christmas next year???