Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bah Humbug!

So here I sit. November 17. The weather has finally turned cooler, but is nowhere near frightful yet, thankfully.

Thanksgiving is one week from today.
Christmas is 5 weeks and 3 days from today.

I've bought 3 Christmas gifts for extended family members. I've bought maybe 5 gifts for the kids.

I hate christmas.

With a lower case "c". Not the big Christ-mas that helps us to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, the Messiah. That one I like.

But the whole shebang. The gift buying, the holiday parties, buying gifts for holiday parties. Shopping, wrapping, scheduling. All the STUFF I have to do.

I didn't used to be this way. But that was when I was younger and everything was done for me. Christmas was fun then! Now, though, I'm the mom. And the wife. So everything falls to me to make sure it's a "perfect Christmas!" To make sure no one gets left off the list. To make that list and check it 3, 4 times. Probably more. To make sure each child has personal, unique gifts that will cause her to squeal with delight when she opens them. They must be fun, useful, educational, and be something she'll play with beyond December 26. And they shouldn't cost too much either.

To figure out where on earth we're going to put all those gifts once they're unwrapped.

I feel trapped. Part of me wants to just say "to heck with it!" and go give all my Christmas money to charity. I think Jesus would like that.

But I think I'd be disowned. And my kids would cry. And maybe this will sound hypocritical, but I do kind of like getting some gifts myself.

In one of the first Financial Peace University lessons, Dave Ramsey talks about saving up money throughout the year and paying cash for Christmas gifts. About Christmas, he says, "Did you know it's in DECEMBER this year?" LOL! In that same rant he says jokingly, "Jesus said buy the little children plastic things!" He's kidding, of course. He's trying to make the point that you don't have to go broke every year buying things for people.

What I'd really like to do is buy things for my friends and family that they REALLY need. Like a new washer and dryer. Siding for their house. A new (to them) car. Diapers for a year. Or something similar.

So here I sit. I'm just not in the Christmas spirit. Maybe that's because it's only NOVEMBER. I don't know. But for the last few years, it's just gotten to be too much work. And I really start questioning whether this is what God had in mind when He sent His Son.


Soaring High said...

I am completely with you on this Wendy. I have begun to really appreciate the thoughtful little things that people do rather than a gift. Maybe it's my Love Language. Maybe I'm tired of Christmas showing up in the store before they've taken down the Halloween Decorations. I want my kids to understand the REAL reason for Christmas....not the gifts--even though that's fun, but HIM.

Jennifer said...

Have you seen the Advent Conspiracy promo video? It's very eye-opening. You're right on track--the way we do Christmas is NOT what God had in mind!

Last year I felt really good about our gift-giving. We spent little on extended family, even less on ourselves (since my kids are little they're still delighted with used toys from Rhea Lana's), and we gave a LOT. Sometimes I worry that others might think we're cheap or stingy. But then I think, "So what?" (A thought that does NOT come naturally for me!) We aren't seeking others' approval; we just have to please God.

Lately I've had the tendency to get stressed about decorating. I think I'm supposed to turn the house into a magical wonderland for Christmas. But I'm NOT good at decorating, I don't like it, and I get intimidated even thinking about going in Hobby Lobby. So why am I letting it get to me? Just don't do it, and focus on what I'm good at and enjoy. (Like baking. :) ) I don't mean forego all decoration; I'll still do a little. But it isn't going to look like a magazine photo out of Southern Living, so I need to quit worrying about it.

Praying for your family to find the right balance in Christmas. I think it looks different for everybody, as God leads you to both celebrate within your family and be a blessing to those outside it.

Wendy Thibault Kane said...

Yes, I've seen the Advent Conspiracy video. (It's done in "kinetic typography", or so Jim tells me! New word for the day!) I like it and agree with it wholeheartedly. I've also seen the book "Christmas is Not Your Birthday" by Michael Slaughter, but I haven't read it. I was going to mention those things in the post but wasn't sure where to fit it in.

I did ok last year simplifying things. I'm trying to start buying the girls less stuff. They are getting old enough to appreciate things that are smaller and cost more. lol! Then I can hopefully keep J4's gifts manageable before he grows up enough to realize he's getting less than his sisters once did. I'm also trying to encourage my family to get the kids gift certificates or to agree to take them places. I know that when I think of my most favorite childhood memories, they involve places we went and things we did more than stuff I got. For example, I'll never forget the Christmas I got my bike. THAT was cool! But that's only 1 Christmas out of 16? 18? I mean, I can think of a few other special gifts but probably not more than 5 that I truly remember.

I'm with you on the decorating thing! Oh, I've got decorations, and we certainly put them up. But I finally quit subscribing to Southern Living and feeling bad b/c my house would be nowhere near close to how theirs look. Viva la difference! lol!