Tuesday, December 15, 2015


Christmas has always been a highlight of my year, so it carries a lot of weight in the form of expectation. As a parent, I feel an obligation to check in with myself frequently and assess whether we're showing the girls how to be mindful of making Christmas special for more reasons than presents. We give what we can to meaningful causes, we help out those having a hard time around the holidays, we spread joy and love with acts of kindness and we prepare our family for the celebration. I don't say this to brag or justify but I want to cushion what I am about to say with some context.

This time of year is special, so it shouldn't surprise me that when I put so much stock in celebrating goodness and light, I am setting myself up to be especially disappointed when I see the opposite. I recognize that I am sensitive, but I am seeing consumerism run out of control and take us far away from the underlying reasons for Christmas, (whether religious or not). It makes me sad and, honestly, repelled when I hear some of these complaints this time of year.

Just this week, I bit my tongue from responding to people complaining about how expensive it is to get gifts for their children's teachers, day care providers and bus drivers on top of everything else. Truly, if a gift is given from a place of appreciation and caring, does it really matter if it's the "right" dollar value? I can't imagine a teacher opening a card or gift and feeling disdain that it wasn't big enough.

I have heard people asking for gift recommendations for friends/family, because everything they have chosen in years past has been unappreciated, unused or unwanted by some particularly difficult recipients. This makes me genuinely sad. The spirit of giving is obscured by a desire to please someone who wouldn't appreciate a gift, any gift. I can only imagine how hurt I would be if I tried to buy a family a gift they they mocked, scoffed at or ignored.

I hear parents talking about how many gifts they bought for each child, and I know I'm getting sensitive here, (fully aware we can't afford multiple gifts per child), but when did this become an issue? Don't the lucky kids get gifts from family and friends and maybe something special from Santa? I have heard of families complaining that it sometimes takes hours to open presents, and that the kids get bored and tired. To me, there is something very misguided going on.

Now, our family exchanges presents, and we see our girls receive many gifts from grandparents, family and friends. This makes them extremely fortunate, and I am very grateful that we live in a situation where excess is more of a problem than scarcity, poverty or hunger.

There are so many reminders, if we really stop and look, about how rich we truly are. Not in presents, stuff, belongings, gadgets. I mean the unmeasurables. I just don't understand how this wonderful time of year, this time for inclusivity, spreading joy, helping those who can use a little support, giving, appreciating and loving, can become so obscured by people-pleasing, meeting demands and material emptiness. Not when there are so many greater, more enriching, more beautiful examples of Christmas spirit all around us.

1 comment:

  1. I couldn't agree more! I want my kids to know that Christmas is about giving, enjoying time with family and being out in nature. Simple and full of love. Great post!


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