Friday, December 31, 2010

Another Year

Each year I stress to my kids the importance of the meaning of Christmas, the importance of giving over receiving, that the reason that we celebrate has to do with our faith and not our wallets. I think that we manage to strike a good balance between giving and receiving for the most part.

This year as I look back on the last few weeks, I find myself overwhelmed with the consumer nature of the holiday season. Buy, buy, buy is all we here for weeks on end. It is all about having more, a bigger this and a better that.

Perhaps it is because I was sick over Christmas and all the gifts could not be opened fast enough for me so that I could go back to bed. Perhaps it was because there has been a lot of behaviour these last few weeks and I was tired or perhaps it is because the gifts are really not that important to me anymore. Yes, the love of my life bought me all 9 seasons of Little House on the Prairie on DVD which thrills me to no end and I will love watching every minute of it but I did not need it. My children did not need another book or lego set and they ignored many of the smaller less flashy treats that were found in their stockings. In fact at this very moment they are outside playing in the quickly melting snow and having the time of their lives without a single store bought thing to play with.

It makes we think that we could do with a whole lot less.

In fact I know we could do with a whole lot less.

In the days before Christmas I delivered one of our Christmas hampers and I had the privilege of meeting the Mom who was receiving the gifts. It was awkward for her but I could see the gratitude in her eyes. She was grateful for all that had been done for her, she was thankful that she had gifts to share with her children on Christmas morning and she said she humbled by the out pouring of love from strangers.

It reminded me of just how very blessed I am to be a middle class stay at home Mom, sure we struggle to make ends meet and there are no big extras in our lives but we choose this. We choose to have less so that I can be home. For so many there is no choice, no choice of this job or that one, steak or pork for dinner, daycare or not daycare. There are no choices because jobs are hard to find, steak is to expensive and without daycare there would be no working, without working there would be no food. I am among the privileged who do not have to make those choices.

I am grateful that another year draws to a close I have be reminded of what is important rather than worrying about what I might not have.


Lindz said...

This was refreshing to read and I too am grateful that I (and my family) do not have to worry about those things. Happy New Year from a fellow SAHM.

Shauna said...

Thanks for the reminder! I am so thankful for all the choices I do not need to make in my life! And that I was able to make the ones I wanted so long ago and life is working out...

BT said...

After a shocking discovery of a whole bunch of toys stowed away broken in the boys' play area early last summer, we prepared P and B for a light Christmas. And we actually stuck with it. I was tempted in the last week before Christmas to add to what we had, but M was adamant that we stick with our plan. We got only 1 or 2 things (plus they got a few gifts from grandparents etc, but there aren't a lot of aunts/uncles/etc in our family, so it was minimal). Christmas morning was so controlled and calm, I couldn't believe the change. Also, P and B actually paid close attention to each and every thing they received, and nothing felt/feels unvalued. It is a nice change. We will be keeping it small from now on. P and B seem no worse for wear with not having gotten many material things!

Penelope said...

Thanks for a great post! We could all do without a lot of stuff! It makes me think of the shoeboxes that we made for the orphans overseas. A little means so much!

Anonymous said...

Had to add something I "borrowed" from someone else's blog--we went with this philosophy this year--each child got "something they want, something they need, something to wear and something to read" When they made their wish lists we divided the paper into four equal parts to do the lists. I couldn't believe how many good conversations this in itself generated about "want' vs "need". I also felt like because we really stuck to this 4 gift theory we didn't do any of the last minute "oh let's get this" "oh now we need to get the other sister that because she got this". Each child sat with their four presents at Christmas and it was a nice, calm grateful Christmas. I highly recommend it!!
Julie A