Just as soon as we pulled up to our camp site from our trip back to NC for Thanksgiving, by the bright and cheery looks of our camper it was definitely officially the Christmas season! I have always loved this time of year. Everything just seems brighter and more joyful at Christmastime. Besides, I love anything that gives excuses to decorate, eat good food and hang out with those I love.
Maybe I’m a bit of a sap, but I’m definitely a sucker for all of the magic that the Christmas season brings! Hunting down the perfect tree, decorating, making salt dough ornaments and drinking hot chocolate with my kids while listening to Christmas music – I’m a huge fan of Christmastime!
All except for one thing…
Don’t get me wrong, who doesn’t enjoy the joy on their children’s faces as they frantically tear into carefully selected gifts on Christmas morning, believing Santa definitely came this year? I do too.
Even our kids got back to the camper and got straight to work making their lists to mail to the North Pole, still there is a silent part of me that wishes that none of it was about the gifts at all.
How odd it is that the entire month following a day to be Thankful for all that we have is spent deliberating what more things we can buy. Over the past few days post Thanksgiving, I’ve found myself wishing we could just hang onto all that came with Thanksgiving and carry it straight into the Christmas holidays, adding nothing more than holiday music, trees and a few lights.
My side of the family decided not to exchange gifts at all this year. And honestly, I breathed a huge sigh of relief realizing I couldn’t be more excited about the freedom to get together for feasts with those I love without the complication and pressure on us all over “the stuff hunt”.
Sometimes gift giving feels more like a ridiculous form of money swap that threatens to take our attention off all the things that truly matter, giving it away to all of the plastic, shiny objects that will likely have been forgotten by next year and will surely never matter at all in the end.
I’ve had a few ask me what I would like for Christmas this year, and I have struggled to give an answer. Because I truly can’t think of one single thing that would add anything significant to my life.
If I could, if there is one thing I would change about Christmas, it is the unspoken loss we experience in our endless quest for gain.
Call me a Scrooge or a Grinch – but it is no secret to those who know me well that it wouldn’t hurt my feelings one single bit if we all just did away with the whole gift giving thing completely.
But we don’t….because I think we all sort of unintentionally get sucked into the trap of just doing what we’ve always done, or what we feel like we should because everyone else does.
What we don’t realize is that our culture has programmed our minds towards materialism, which oddly enough is the one thing that steals everything that is good from our lives.
We have exchanged financial freedom & the time to invest in our families for the stuff of landfills.
But I’m willing to bet that if most of us were completely honest, we would love to be free to imagine the possibility that this season could be a bit more simple and light. Less about material gain and more about all of the only things that ever really mattered in the first place.
This is the one thing I would change about the most perfectly wonderful holiday ever.
Own less, live fully, travel light.