Have you ever noticed how the holidays seem to bring out the worst in people, including yourself? The last minute shopping, the pressure to decorate your home with the latest accessories, the cooking, cleaning, and guests from out of town. Let's not even talk about the money aspect, it's a bottomless pit! When you are a kid, none of this matters, because you are the one benefitting from it, and you are blissfully unaware of anything, other than the fact that you don't have school, you can sleep in, and there is lots of yummy food to be eaten, plus, you get presents! Your parents (or the adults in your life) take care of everything, and so the cycle goes. When you start to have your own family, you accept the role, because that's the cycle.
A few years ago, I had lost my job, and had very little money. I was unable to buy the special food, presents, and decorations. And you know what? We were fine. The kids hardly noticed, and I was astounded at how much easier it was for me. We still had each other, and the fact that we didn't have a tree, was irrelevant. The kids told me it didn't matter, and we spent the holidays relaxing, enjoying being together. They didn't get up early on Christmas morning, because there weren't any presents, but they didn't really need anything, anyway. We had a nice day, watching movies together and then heading down to the beach for the sunset.
The last few years have taught me many valuable lessons, but during the holiday season, this is the most valuable lesson of all. Excessive consumerism is not mandatory. Make your own traditions and enjoy being together. Take a road trip or a hike. Make some hot cocoa and watch whatever movies you like. They don't HAVE to be Christmas movies. If you are religious, there are many traditions, church services, and gatherings you can attend that are free, or donation based.
We don't need most of the gadgets and junk we already have, much less MORE junk to add to it. In my family, we have agreed not to get the adults gifts, but spend whatever money we have on the kids. As the kids have gotten older, they just want money. This is not really AS fun, but I do enjoy mailing off my cards with gift cards stashed inside. Since we live far away from our relatives, I enjoy the thought of them opening my card and maybe having a distant memory of who we are. Someday, we will all be together for the holidays, but, until then, this will have to suffice!
This year, we got a tree, and I put lights on it, telling my son, "You can help me put on the ornaments later." Well, we never got around to that, and we still think it looks fine. The cats still like to drink the water, and climb up the trunk. There is no pressure for it to be "perfect" or adhere to any set of rules. We enjoy the scent of the tree, and the pretty lights. Next year, we may or may not get one. It's no big deal either way.
Christmas, and the holidays, are about the Spirit, family, and love. As long as we enjoy each other, not much else really matters. Blessings to all of you during this special season!