My husband and I just went into the basement and to put all the kid’s presents in bags and label them.
During the process we both stopped and had to give each other pep talks. That’s because we took turns freaking out.
There aren’t that many presents! Only a handful for each and some little things for the stockings. Are we bad parents? Are we depriving our kids? Of course we want to shower them with all good things!
When the you’ve grown up in the 80s, and you’ve seen too much media, piles and piles of presents under the tree are burned in your retinas. Normal Rockwell paintings, or Maxwell House coffee commercials. Happy, shiny faces surrounded by mountains of gifts. Even if we fight it, even if it doesn’t fit in with our life philosophies, we still doubt ourselves in our decisions. At least that is what we did.
Did we do enough for them? Will they feel enough love and happiness?
Of course they will. It isn’t about the stuff, we know. For us, it’s about spending time with family, enjoying new and old traditions, and eating special foods. And we are proud of our purchases from small family companies, mostly made in the U.S. created from sustainable materials without toxins.
In moments of doubt and panic, I can see one of us running out to the store, buying more stuff, just for the idea of getting more, more. Of course, this violates our budget and our ethics, but somehow the notion still tugs on us. It is hard to pull away from our consumerist roots. The idea that somehow consuming goods will make us happy.
But after a little more wine, and some talking, the feeling is gone. I just wanted to share with you that it is natural and normal (I hope!). Changing behaviors involves all of us, our histories, our past selves.
It will be a simple, beautiful holiday. Wishing you one as well.
image: by arkworld on Flickr