no christmas consumerist craziness
Photo from my friend’s Christmas display last year. So simple and beautiful.
Instead of stressing about the festive season I’ve managed the renovation of our floors (which was a bit stressful at times!), travelled, lay under trees in the park, shared meals with new and old friends, and attended weddings and fancy dress parties.
I have zero presents to buy this year. The hyper advertising push is just bouncing off me.
During one of our awesome weekly breakfast dates my mum and I agreed to do no presents and I’m thrilled. Not because I don’t get into the spirit of the season. I do. Not because I don’t love my family. I adore them in truckloads. Not because I don’t enjoy giving a precious person a gift that I think is perfect for them. I do it on their special occasions. I do get excited by the sparkling lights, the anticipation and the festive atmosphere. But for me the priority is time with loved ones, telling them I love them, consuming good food and drink and taking it slowly.
I have fond memories of Christmases growing up. I guess the telling thing is that the memories of interactions, feelings, outdoor games, travel and people are stronger than what I received in the boxes under the tree. I also recall being so grateful to my mum who made the celebration happen each year in the most awesome ways and with whom the tradition started of taking in “orphans” as extra family for the day. Boxing Day has always been special, as wherever we were, she and I would make sure to be in front of the tv eating leftovers and sipping cool drinks as the Sydney to Hobart yacht race started. This is a tradition we still maintain nearly every year with the wonderful people in our lives. As we’ve all got older, presents have taken more of a backseat in my extended family. For the past few years we’ve bought only for our immediate families and then drawn a name out of a hat for a cousin or aunt or uncle. With my grandparents aging I see this disappearing. Which is very sad, not for the lack of presents, but for the reminder that my grandmother is losing the ability to know the date and play Mrs Claus. That brings a big lump to my throat.
I will cherish another celebration with these very beloved grandparents, continuing to marvel at how big a part they’ve played in my life. Last year I made them the biscuits I watched them bake for me as a child. I lovingly wrapped them and wrote each a love letter about those memories. Like several minimalists that I follow, I like the idea of giving something that is truly personal, homemade or thoughtful. Miss Minimalist came up with a great list of ideas for giving the promise of time, an experience, an act or sharing of knowledge or skills. I will use my cards for love letters and such pledges.
I have spoken with friends and asked that we simply share the extraordinary gift of time together again this year. I like knowing that my request takes the pressure off them to hit the shops again, especially when I know they’re not enjoying the process. I know one of my dear friends will also be baking treats for gifts. I might also hit the kitchen like I did last year.
As the days count down I’m still relishing the small joys and big adventures, knowing that in a short time my husband and I will fill our home with delicious food, flowers and a few fairy lights and enjoy many gatherings with friends and family. We’ll laugh – tell stories – tease each other – sit around talking – take photos – smell the flowers – enjoy breezes – cuddle my dog – welcome “orphans” to our gatherings – go on long walks – play music – take naps – do silly dances – watch Christmas movies, snow in the northern hemisphere and yacht racing on the tv – have picnics and bbqs – eat at new and old favourite restaurants – rub our full bellies – lie on the grass in the park – stroll along the beach – wander the quieter urban streets – donate things to charity – hope for no natural disasters – watch fireworks – drive past light displays on houses – and I will gaze at my husband’s smile as he talks with others – hug my super pretty mum – keep my gran warm – giggle lovingly at my grandpa’s shaky hands that we’ve all inherited – and be grateful for all that we have and all that we don’t need or want for.