I’m done with Christmas shopping, for the most part anyway. Marty got his present in October. (Thank you apple for always introducing a new phone/gadget/idevice) The kids were done in pretty much one fell swoop. My parents and siblings are not doing gifts, (praise the Lord!) David and Marylin, Marty’s parents have been bought for, the kids friends also down in one fell swoop (you’re all getting the same thing!) I do have to buy for our Sunday School party but I have an idea for that.
I love Christmas, I love the lights, the music, the food, the smells, the attitude of cheer and goodwill. I love the cold weather and the hopes of a white Christmas. (Isaac was convinced that it was Christmas the other day when it snowed, “we should open presents mom!”) I love the Christmas specials, Charlie Brown, Frosty, the one with the heat miser, Rudolph, ELF, It’s a wonderful life. I love the message of hope, in the baby born to live a perfect life, show us the right path, and die so that we may live.
But, I hate the gifts. I know, I know, I’m a spoilsport. I just hate shopping, trying to find something they will like, seeing the disappointment if they don’t. I hate the idea of a list, and this is what we must have to have a good Christmas. I’m not a gifts person. I don’t need stuff. We do Santa. I don’t have a problem with the guy in red, I have a problem with the fact that he takes the place (and the characteristics) of Jesus for the month of December for a lot of people. I never felt lied to growing up, I don’t have trouble believing in God because I found out my parents were Santa. And, I totally respect you if you don’t do Santa. It takes all kinds.
It’s something we talked about, still talk about at our house. Santa, gifts, the meaning of Christmas.
At our house, Christmas was a big deal, we didn’t get a lot of toys except Christmas and birthdays, and then what we got was limited. One big Santa gift, and a few things from our parents-usually there were some clothes thrown in there. And of course I think that’s how things should be done, because that’s my experience. Marty was raised completely different. He got toys all the time and Christmas was just that times 10 (I’m totally going by the way he describes it, I don’t really know). It’s been a struggle.
Last year with our kids, they got 3 gifts plus a stocking. I really liked that. They get way more from grandparents than from us, plus aunts and uncle, plus friends, plus goodie bags, teacher gifts…..and the list goes on. And they are at the age that every gift is of equal value: the pencil in their goodie bag is equal to the Santa present. But, it’s just too much.
I struggle with the fact that we are the richest country in the world. That because I have food, clothes, a home to sleep in, and running water I am among the richest 8% in the world. And my daughter is getting $50 worth of plastic ponies. My husband has every iDevice out. My son has more Mario’s that we can count. I can watch pretty much any movie I want any time I want with Netflix and cable tv. We give, we tithe, we make donations to world hunger, we give to Lottie Moon Christmas offering, we bought gifts for the angel tree and made shoe boxes of Operation Christmas Child. We live pretty frugally, I buy my clothes at goodwill (only on the first saturday of the month), we try to only eat out once a week, I shop with coupons. But my daughter has a full belly and a room full of ponies and there are children in Romania who are digging in the trash, babies in China who need parents, and kids in America who won’t eat this Christmas because there’s no school open to feed them. I need to remember that what I claim is mine, isn’t really.
So back to gifts, I think next year, I want to only buy gifts that do good. Gifts that when you buy them they allow teenage girls in Romania to go to high school and give them a reason not to have a baby at 15. Gifts that provide an income for men and women rescued from the sex trade. Gifts that support a local business in your hometown. Gifts that feed hungry mouths in Africa for a month.
What’s going to last, a life or a plastic pony?
If you’re still shopping check out:
http://beliefinmotion.org/Cherechiu.aspx - these are the missionaries in Romania that our church partnered with in 2010 and Lacey Hampton (one of our college students) spent a month with last summer.
(we’ve bought these bags before for our graduating seniors – love them!)