All I Want for Christmas is…


As this holiday season begins to grow closer to the main event, many of us begin to look at our traditions.  Checking off some sort of imaginary list that ensures you don’t miss a thing. But I have found that these traditions began when there were multiple families working together to celebrate and entertain at the main house.  That was the eldest living family member’s home because it was always the largest.  I for one, threw in the towel as soon as I was married. When it comes to Christmas, my objective is to keep things as simple as possible and to remind my little offshoot of the true meaning of the holiday instead of getting sucked into the hustle and bustle of the season.

One year as I was flipping through a magazine, I came across an article full of data related to how much a family spends on this holiday, which ends up contributing to the mass commercialization of Christmas.  The article included a section specifically about children.  It showed a bar graph of how Christmas lists had been steadily growing along with expectations of Christmas entertainment.  We didn’t have children at the time, but I had already witnessed far too many tantrums to be able to say that Christmas morning was “joyful”.  I took notes and swore that my children would not act like that. 

Once we were able to add a child to our branch, I knew that Christmas lists would be the greatest challenge to my mission of peace.  Who could compete with the commercials and advertisements that kids were exposed to on television and the internet.  I wanted to be sure that our children would not keep a running list of what they saw on TV.  That is when I came across another article from an on-line blog that changed the entire gifting process.  It repositioned gifts as simple items that added to the blessings of the day. 

As Americans, many of us are privileged enough to be able to buy things we want when we see them or can get to a computer to order them.  But I wanted this holiday to mean something more, I wanted us to be thankful for what we already had, keeping our home from drowning in new things for our closets, kitchens, offices, etc.  That was not the kind of lifestyle my husband and I wanted.  As I continued reading, they suggested changing how we made our Christmas lists.  Instead of allowing children to create an infinite scroll of what they wanted, they would instead pick one thing for each of the most important categories, limiting the list to 4 items that they would use throughout the year not just for a few hours. 

Something you want

Something you need

Something to wear and

Something to read

This idea was genius!  When we finally had our son, he participated in this list-making until he could write his own.  I encouraged my family to respect our 4-item limitation.  Making it work was very easy.  Less stress for all involved.  And the children have become more grateful about the effort it takes to earn a living while setting aside an additional savings amount for gifts alone.  To this day, the concept has spread from one branch to another and if you happen to know anyone on our tree, chances are, they will be making every effort possible to convert your tree too.


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