Avoiding the Christmas Crap
As you all know, Christmas is usually a source of panic and stress for me starting in about August. I believe I even blogged about it...extensively. Someone asked me yesterday how my plans were coming, and if I was able to make Christmas this year be more like a "little Pascha" than before. I THINK the answer is "yes", although Christmas day needs to come and go before I know for sure.
Here's what I've done to cut down: ONE gift per person. Not one clothing gift and one toy gift, not "wouldn't fuzzy slippers be nice...oh now I need to buy four pairs", not "If I get this for him I'll need to get one for each of the girls as well". Just one gift. I almost fell into the pajamas trap, but after I'd purchased one set with plans to buy more, the person I'd gotten them for received FOUR sets of PJ's via hand-me-downs and I did a return the very next day. Thank you, Lord!
I have learned that the restraint really needs to come from within, because the pressure to buy buy buy is coming as much from within as it is from external sources. I've managed to avoid watching TV or going to the store unless absolutely necessary, and so that helps, too.
And then we've purchased some group family gifts that we get to open up and enjoy together: some DVDs to add to our collection, a jar of Nutella (my kids don't read my blog so I'm not worried), and a couple of games. I relly think gifts like this promote family solidarity and sharing.
Most important is that I did not break the budget. And I don't feel stressed.
Unfortunately, on top of this grand simplicity will be laid a layer of dollar store purchases. The kids have a tradition of getting each other and their parents dollar store gifts. I know they want to give in this way, so that is important, even if I'm less than thrilled about the stuff for sale there.
Food and fellowship:
This is new for me, having some neighbors over for cookies and Christmas caroling this Friday night.
Christmas Dinner is going to be a big vat of beef chilli. And some Killian's liquid bread, and chips. (I don't drink beer or whatever he calls that dark stuff, but the man does sometimes, as will some of our guests, no doubt). Not very traditional, but that's what is being craved around here, so that's what it will be. I'm not big on Turkey dinners and I am even less enthusiastic about Ham. And I certainly WON'T do loads of cooking on Christmas day.
I'll get some cookies made earlier in the week, starting today most likely. And some sugar free stuff so I don't make myself sick. And there's always those lovely lovely lovely Mrs. Smith's pies in the freezer section of the grocery store.
So, that's the plan.
And yes, this is abundance. I don't even pretend to think that we are "poor" or that we are less fortunate than others. We are not. We are materially blessed, even through these lean and shaky times of an autumn of joblessness followed by contracting work. God has helped to provide every single one of our needs. I hope and pray we can always give back to Him and to the "little ones" he puts in our path.