I like keeping Christmas small. Small tree, small number of presents, preferably homemade, and small (but none would be better!) number of trips to the mall, but big on love, good food, and memories with dear family and friends.
My childhood Christmases were over the top with a giant tree, presents spilling out of the room, and after all the anticipation, it was over in less than ten minutes… What I didn’t see as a child, was all the work, stress and debt these extravagant Christmases likely caused my parents. I truly appreciate all the effort, thought and love that went into making my childhood Christmases magical.
Now as a parent myself, we have an agreement with our son that he only ask Santa for three gifts, and we don’t buy him anything else. If other family members choose to buy our son gifts, we do not try to dissuade them, because we aren’t complete buzzkill parents. However, it makes me cringe when I have to wrack my brain thinking of gift ideas for my son to share with others (the three Santa gifts are hard enough!), or what I should buy the people on my list, or feel pressure to choose gifts that will be “equal” in monetary value. Shouldn’t this be a sign that we have more than we need? Aren’t there plenty who don’t that we could (should?) be focusing on?
Despite the best of intentions, Christmas inevitably ends of becoming more materialistic than I had hoped. Even though I want to be strong, I tend to freak out in the days leading up to the big day, wondering if so and so would be getting me a gift and do I have something (equal in thought and expense) for them?
Perhaps we’ll get better and better at remembering the true meaning of Christmas, and decide not to allow the commercialization of it to affect us at all. I do think we’ve gotten better at setting limits, and therefore changing the expectation that Christmas isn’t good unless everyone goes into debt.
I would love to hear how others have worked to keep Christmas small on stuff, but big on love in their families! Cheers to a merry little Christmas!