A Season Without all of the Gifts Brings us Just as Much Peace and Joy
Continuing with the theme of minimalist holiday decorating I wrote about on Tuesday, my blogger friend over at Little House on the Southern Prairie wrote last week on breaking from the shopping frenzy that always accompanies this time of year. Her post set me to thinking how our holidays have changed.
At one time in our married lives, Christmas meant a month full of shopping and running around, ending with two days of family merriment (note the sarcasm in that word) and invariably, my ending up down with a nasty cold that typically led into bronchitis.
Not only did we have the holiday shopping, wrapping and company parties, but my mother and I both celebrated birthdays in December, adding to the packed calendar.
On the 24th, we usually began the two-day extravaganza stressed. We typically were running late to get to my family’s gathering because Dale never worked for a company that gave him the day off or even let him off at noon.
When we arrived, everyone was on pins and needles. One family member usually got mad because there was always something that didn’t measure up to their Norman Rockwell vision of the holiday, or they were already mad and they were ruthless in “pay back.”
We spent half the night there and came home to open packages with my mom and the night usually didn’t end until the wee hours of the morning.
On the 25th, it was early to his grandmother’s and after her death, his mother’s, my other family’s celebration in the afternoon and his dad’s at night.
No wonder I usually ended the month sick.
Our gift list was 30+ people long and we typically came home with boxes of stuff we had to find a use and space for in a house that was already overflowing.
I would like to think since we moved to Our Little House, we’ve found the peace and joy without the hubbub and all of the gifts. Sure, we still receive some gifts, but like the gifts we give now, I feel they are meaningful as they are for people who truly want to give to us and we choose a gift now because it does mean something, rather than having to buy or even receive because someone felt obligated.
Here are some of the traditions that make me happy each season:
- Watching “Christmas Vacation” and then “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
- Listening to Bing Crosby croon “White Christmas,” remembering my mother and how much she loved the season.
- The white lights on our Christmas tree and our outdoor lights glowing in the total darkness of the woods.
- If we’re lucky, like last year, a white Christmas of our own. The majesty of a snow white blanketed wooded landscape is the very definition of peace.
- A day of relaxing with just a couple of good friends and good food on Christmas.
- Christmas cards with notes from friends and family, some of whom I don’t hear from the rest of the year.
How have you redefined the holidays to not include the commercialism and stuff most of us do not need?