I’ve got my Christmas music on. I opened three more Christmas cards when the mail arrived. I’ve read my devotion for the day. And still… it’s easy to see my reflection in the mirror as the Grinch. I don’t get it. I’m just struggling.
Could it be that I’m trying to juggle too many things right now? Home projects, work, parenting responsibilities, normal home upkeep like laundry & dishes, and then of course, Christmas preparations. I’m definitely not burning the midnight oil trying to get everything done. I was so cooked by the time I got the kids home, fed and in jammies, and spent 30 minutes on and off connecting with my husband while taking on the kid responsibilities – I cashed it in at 7:30pm.
Honestly, I think the root of it is the focus of Christmas this year. My focus since childhood has been on celebrating Jesus’s birth with church family and biological/ extended family. That is personal for me. Believer or non-believer, Christmas flat-out MEANS something to most people and it typically isn’t all about the gifts.
WANT, Want, want….
This year I’ve been bombarded for 2 months about “what does child A and child B want?” Can I be completely honest here? We live a pretty simple life. We work and are humbly successful. No flashy Joneses here. These children of mine are happy with sticks and rocks. No, truly they are. Child A got in trouble (repeatedly) for a sassy mouth and had his room cleaned out and stored in trash bags. He got to keep his bed, covers & pillow, and puzzles and books. You know what he was thrilled playing with when all the fluff was removed? Cardboard boxes and nuts and bolts from the junk drawer. Child B likes to play with stickers, crayons, and markers. She is creative. She rocks her dolls to sleep and drags them all over the house in the blankets I used when my littles were babies.
Last night as I was talking to my husband, I realized that this is the drain I’ve been feeling. The focus on this holiday has been put on the material side of life. How much are you spending? Will my 6 year old like this $100 gift? Does my 4 year old want this $100 sparkly item? Yuck. Yuck. Yuck. Make it stop.
What to do?
My hubs agreed with me that this is NOT how we are going to live. So how do I fix this? Do we outlaw gifts? We agreed that is pretty extreme and not really a mountain we want to climb with our families at this point. (A conversation will be necessary before next year though to prevent the madness experienced this year.) He took the first step by talking to my father-in-law. I also talked to one of my sisters and my mother about my concerns about the focus being too gift-centered.
I am actively looking for local options for our family to volunteer or celebrate OUR reason for the SEASON with others with a giving, humble, and loving heart. We will celebrate with our local church family this coming Sunday and again on Christmas Day. We will read the Christmas story and talk about its meaning. We will write thank-you notes for the gifts we do receive. If our home project is far enough along and I have an oven, we will make Jesus a birthday cake and invite a widowed neighbor over to share it. We MUST refocus on our personal reason for the season of Christmas. It speaks so much louder than words when we put our gratitude, love, kindness, and care for others in action.
I refuse to let this become just another holiday marked with material stuff.
Christmas Letter – Part Deux
Now that I’ve wrapped my head around all of that, I think I can punch out a fabulous Christmas letter. My Grinchiness was giving me writer’s block and I’m pretty sure it would have been a bitter bite to arrive in the mail.
Onward and upward. Time to write the family Christmas letter…
With Love – Jenny Grinch