So I have to admit, I am a total nut for Christmas. I love everything about Christmas - the decorations, the music, all the parties.....but I think it excites me because what I really love is the FEELING of Christmas. The LOVE of family and friends spending time together, the act of GIVING to others and trying to find something really special, the MAGIC of Santa and little children. Nothing beats my children running down the stairs Christmas morning with a gasp and a scream and their eyes bigger than their heads!
But I struggle with the materialistic nature of the holidays. I really want to teach my girls to be grateful for what they have, to give back, and to value things bigger and better than THINGS. Since they were babies, they have helped clean out their clothes and toys and donated them with me. They have been a part of deciding what stays and what goes and have witnessed people coming to pick it up. They have used birthdays to collect toys for Toys for Tots. When they get older we will volunteer at a soup kitchen for Thanksgiving (and other times).
However, as they watch TV or walk through the stores, all that I hear is, "I WANT THAT!" or "THERE IT IS MOMMY!" Is this normal? Am I expecting too much too soon? Probably. Honestly I see adults at this time of year get wrapped up in the THINGS rather than the FEELING. Everyone is rushing around, with not enough time, and without the right gifts. This is why we see people lined up Thanksgiving night outside of Walmart right? (Actually this year they'll be able to shop Thanksgiving night - sadly).
I think the best thing to do is to live a life that demonstrates being thankful. To give back to the community as much as we can. To value time spent with family and friends rather than value the things that they give us. We actually stopped giving presents to our siblings (their aunts & uncles) years ago. It was financially straining to them at the time (they are all younger than us) and it was stressful to us trying to get shopping done. We all decided that we just wanted to see each other and that was GIFT enough. It was one of the greatest decisions!
So my wish this holiday season, is that everyone slows down, enjoys time with family and friends, and focuses on the FEELING of the holidays rather than the THINGS. Instead of shopping, make homemade gifts together. Instead of one more side dish on Thanksgiving, donate food to a local food pantry. Be grateful. Give back. Enjoy time spent with loved ones. I think if we all did this, we would all be much healthier and happier people. Happy Holidays!