Each year I stress to my kids the importance of the meaning of Christmas, the importance of giving over receiving, that the reason that we celebrate has to do with our faith and not our wallets. I think that we manage to strike a good balance between giving and receiving for the most part.
This year as I look back on the last few weeks, I find myself overwhelmed with the consumer nature of the holiday season. Buy, buy, buy is all we here for weeks on end. It is all about having more, a bigger this and a better that.
Perhaps it is because I was sick over Christmas and all the gifts could not be opened fast enough for me so that I could go back to bed. Perhaps it was because there has been a lot of behaviour these last few weeks and I was tired or perhaps it is because the gifts are really not that important to me anymore. Yes, the love of my life bought me all 9 seasons of Little House on the Prairie on DVD which thrills me to no end and I will love watching every minute of it but I did not need it. My children did not need another book or lego set and they ignored many of the smaller less flashy treats that were found in their stockings. In fact at this very moment they are outside playing in the quickly melting snow and having the time of their lives without a single store bought thing to play with.
It makes we think that we could do with a whole lot less.
In fact I know we could do with a whole lot less.
In the days before Christmas I delivered one of our Christmas hampers and I had the privilege of meeting the Mom who was receiving the gifts. It was awkward for her but I could see the gratitude in her eyes. She was grateful for all that had been done for her, she was thankful that she had gifts to share with her children on Christmas morning and she said she humbled by the out pouring of love from strangers.
It reminded me of just how very blessed I am to be a middle class stay at home Mom, sure we struggle to make ends meet and there are no big extras in our lives but we choose this. We choose to have less so that I can be home. For so many there is no choice, no choice of this job or that one, steak or pork for dinner, daycare or not daycare. There are no choices because jobs are hard to find, steak is to expensive and without daycare there would be no working, without working there would be no food. I am among the privileged who do not have to make those choices.
I am grateful that another year draws to a close I have be reminded of what is important rather than worrying about what I might not have.