No one will find this post on any search engine. It’s not a snazzy or snappy title. Or a timely news item. But that’s okay.
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
Summer Minor says
We had the same freak out today. The kids each got 1 gift bag, with a toy, a coloring book, and a treat in. Even after weeks of wanting to cut down on the consumer crap I felt like I was being the world’s worst mom for not having a mountain of gifts waiting for them.
This year my husband and I decided not to put up a tree or do gifts. I guess you could say our Christmas is celebrated differently. I couldn’t help but feel like I’m depriving my son’s first Christmas! Do I get him a gift? A typical toy?
Then I remember an article from a magazine that read something about a woman who was fet up with the American Christmas. She decided to take her family on a Christmas hike instead of showering them with gifts in the early morning.
I decided to take this idea and run with it…we now are going to have an easy hearty breakfast and take a small hike(can’t go on long ones my son is only 10 months old). Find a tree and tie fruit on the branches(this way one tree can stay planed and animals can have a Christmas treat!). When we get home its time to prepare the Feast!
After a nice hike and a fat meal I think i can get used to a new family tradition.
We gave my baby girl (a year old) one gift and thought that was just fine. She also got several other gifts from family, so all together had a small pile. We actually give her things all throughout the year, so it seems obscene to buy a bunch of things for Xmas. I guess everyone sees it a bit differently, though.