Ive been asked by a few friends to post another blog, which excites me, humbles me, and scares me all at the same time =) Its so refreshing to blog...I grow ever SO tired of Facebook. So, here goes, for those who enjoy my rambling and thinking aloud =)
I realized yesterday that today would mark 5 months until Christmas!!!! HOW EXCITING!!! "Exciting???!!! Are you mad?!" you may say, but I look forward to that time of year. I wish it were 2 weeks away! I always feel a sense of peace and safety in December, as though the world has turned nostalgic, and we are back in the 1950's, where everyone loves, gives, sacrifices, and crime is practically obsolete. Naive? Absolutely. I don't deny it. But I truly feel a peace on Earth the few weeks leading up to Christmas that I don't feel any other time of the year. I trust people more. I know it sounds weird...can anyone relate??? I'm sure there's a statistic somewhere out there that shows the national crime rate, for robbery, is up on Christmas Eve...blah, blah....for me, I will just continue believing that all those Grinchs' hearts are growing daily. So back to Christmas being 5 months away. Why do Americans, as a whole, dread this holiday so much? Why cant we look at it as a week to relax with our families, eat some home cooked food, and see much missed relatives? Ill tell you my opinion, the answer: we give too much. "But Christmas is a season for giving!" Maybe...but shouldn't we give everyday? I'm not speaking of handing out the newest game console, or UGG(ly) boots, or toys, Toys, TOYS(!!!). We should give of our time, our love, our kindness, our generosity, our money. Nothing annoys me more than to hear a Christian woman complain about the fast approaching Christmas season with self-induced agony & annoyance in her voice. Really? I just want to say, "Oh, I'm so sorry that your American gaze has distracted you from celebrating Christ' birth and turned you into a Black Friday snatchy-grabbing-mine!-mine! Monster who feels the need to keep up with what her neighbors are buying their kids." Christian or not, do you really want Christmas to be an annual materialistic holiday in your house???? It is your freedom of religion/from religion to choose how you celebrate it, but surely no one wants their kids to have a sense of entitlement every December 25th, and act as though you OWE it to them to max out your credit card. Who started this? Yes, the wisemen gave Jesus gifts, but who thought "Hey, lets keep this thing going!"? Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that giving/getting presents is wrong. I LOVE to give gifts!!!! I love to watch the recipient's face light up as the open up their gift (that Ive probably told them all about, because I'm horrible at surprises). I love the feeling of knowing that I put down that necklace for myself, to buy someone else a special something. Those are good feeling. Right feelings (Oh, and I like getting gifts too--no saint here). If you start to feel stressed over your Christmas shopping then you're doing too much. Period. You should never feel taxed, stressed, or begrudged about giving. Ever. If you feel that way (especially now, 5 months before Christmas!), then I propose an examination...maybe two...First, examine your Christmas list--do you really need to buy your 2nd cousin's, fiance's, baby sister's new puppy a present? Simply put, NO. Our Christmas list includes: Enzlie, both sets of parents, a child/children in need & Granny. That's it. Sometimes we buy each other a little something, sometimes not. It's a rare Christmas when we buy for cousins, nieces/nephews or siblings. Its simply not in the budget and I refuse to feel overwhelmed and guilted-stricken to bestow a gift upon someone. If I cant give it with the right intentions, then I'm not giving it. That's not harsh, its simply how we CHOOSE to celebrate Christmas in our home. Luckily, mine & Tim's families are much more supportive of us buying a child-in-need a gift than giving one to their kids, who aren't needy. Maybe your family doesn't operate that way. Perhaps you have to begrudgingly give a gift..or 20...every year to 'keep the peace.' Here's where we take that second examination--examine your heart, and there you will find your reasons for exhausting yourself every year. What is your motive behind each gift? Is 'keeping peace' weightier than paying 29.75% interest for a solid 12 months before maxing out that credit card again? Is it really worth it? Why? Why, have we allowed Christmas to become a sales pitch? Marketing scam? A dreaded Holiday? What's Christmas to you? To your family? Again I will ask, what are you teaching your children? How do they view your busy-ness, your stress level, your obsession with perfection, your integrity, your views on giving and generosity? Twenty years from now do you want them frazzled and frayed each year-end, like they see you? Teach them now the virtue of giving. The joy of Giving is really a gift in itself. For every toy, game, article of clothing your kiddos pick out have them also pick one out for a needy class mate (and give it anonymously), or a child on the angel tree/Salvation Army tree. Our kids (MINE included!!!) get SO much throughout the year, why not make Christmas a time to give to those that truly need it, not those that expect it, or demand it. Maybe you could propose the idea that everyone's kids play dirty Santa together? A new extended-family tradition, eh? =) The way we response to the world's hustle and bustle is how our children will respond to it. Same goes for Black Friday shopping. I always loved it as a kid, and this past year was my LAST. I nearly was trampled over a set of 500 thread count sheets. I never pushed or shoved...that was the 'problem.' Ladies seriously have to leave their morals, integrity and standards out in the cold parking lot, in order to get everything that they 'have to have.' I get disgusted thinking about it. Is that Christ like? To barge, and push and yell and cat fight? Or, for the non-Christians, is that proper and right conduct, and is it socially acceptable? Its preposterous. Such a spirit of Greed...I urge you, save yourself the spike of adrenaline and cortisol and simply stay home. You can always shop online, and then meet up with the gals at Cracker Barrel afterwards =)
So in all this....HAPPY 5 MONTHS UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!!!!!