06 December 2008

The Groovy Family Has Gotten Off the Merry-Go-Round

That would be the insane gift-giving merry-go-round.

For several years now Mulletman and I have struggled with our disdain for the commercialism of Christmas and our desire to bless the people we love with nice gifts. The trouble is, the people we love don't really NEED much. So we search and agonize and struggle to come up with "something" for the requisite Christmas present and we get all grouchy and we argue and get stressed and the kids get overwhelmed with too much STUFF.

We hate it. And we're done with done with it. Not with Christmas. We LOVE Christmas! No. no, we're done with the "obligations". As of this year, we're through with giving gifts to the adults in the family, including each other. And we're only buying one gift for the girlies and some stocking stuffers. I'll also get some stocking things for GrammaJ because she grew up without a warm, loving family and getting a stocking means the world to her. The grown kids will get homemade cookies and lotsa love. The grandkids get one or two small gifts.

Will we still buy gifts for our family? Oh sure! Just not for Christmas! We'll bless them on their birthdays and as opportunities arise during the year; we're not stingy!

But Christmas isn't about us. It isn't even about family - although that's what Hallmark wants us to think. It's about Christ. It is (presumably) His birthday (so to speak). We're celebrating Christmas by giving gifts to HIM! How? Well jesus said, "When you've done it to the least of these, you've done it unto Me." (Matthew 25) Consequently we are focusing our December on giving financially and physically to the poor, both in the U.S. and abroad.

And it feels SO awesome! SO freeing! So relieving! SO joyous!

We are having a blast picking charities to bless and places to serve!

Before I go, I want you to know...to KNOW, that I am not posting this as some sort of self-righteous drive-by guilting. I'm not going to lecture anyone else on how they celebrate (or don't celebrate) Christmas. That's between you and God and your own family. However, my heart is so overflowing with peace right now that I just had to share it with you all.

Oh and a final note: We did get some gifts this year before we made this final no-gift decision - most especially for J-Man and Funsocksgirl - and they're still going to get their gifts. We won't regift them for a toy drive! ;D

And we gave Scout some special things before he left for his base because we weren't sure we could even get a Christmas gift to him on time because he deploys next week.

It's also interesting just how many birthdays we have coming up too - which explains why I'm STILL going shopping!

Grammy Dec 22
Grampy Dec 30
PrettyMom Dec 31
Fireball Jan 3
GrammaJ Jan 5

And then Ji-Ji in Feb. and Scout in Mar. and Cookie in April!

OK...I gotta go. Gotta pick up some NOT Christmas stuff and buy some food for the diet that starts Monday. Prevention Magazine insists that we all start now, during the Holidays, instead of in January. They are some seriously tough task masters! I have a new post up on my diet blog (I've got the process figured out now!) and there'll be another one up tomorrow or Monday.

You folks have an awesome weekend!


Anonymous said...

Groovy, you and your family are unplugging from the Christmas Machine. I'm trying to do the same.

We're not as quite a far along as you are. We've decided to give gift cards ($) instead of gifts for the children in our extended family. I cannot tell you what a relief this is. I agonize all of December every year over what to get for these wonderful children. I don't see them enough to know what they have or what they need. Though some may see it as impersonal, this decision has really lightened my load.

The other decision that has helped so much is to decide to have a luxurious but small Christmas feast. Lobster bisque (homemade), salad and dessert. Very special but less wear-and-tear on the cook.

You do such a great job of making the important things important and finding joy in all things. Bless you.

Carole Burant said...

Groovy, I admire your decision to do this and believe me, I think it's a great decision! Christmas has become overwhelming because of the gift giving...no one can really afford it and yet we all spend beyond our means because we want to please someone. I also think it's so silly trying to think up of what to give someone who doesn't need anything...love your idea of giving to the needy instead. You have truly found the true meaning of Christmas, my friend. xoxo

Ceri Hebert said...

I love the idea of giving to charities this year instead of buying presents that will no doubt end up in a closet somewhere or regifted next year and THEN end up in a closet. I wish we could convince the rest of the family to do likewise for us.

Anonymous said...

Good for you guys! I think that is great!

anno said...

Bravo! This sounds wonderful!

Damselfly said...

Well then, you will enjoy the not-gift I am sending you from my random birthday giveaway. (There was a winner, but I also had a couple random things.) Just e-mail me your mailing address!

I read Creation Care magazine, which last year promoted the idea of giving relational gifts rather than "stuff" -- spending time with your loved ones such as at a ball game or the beach or whatever you like to do, or giving a gift you made yourself, to cut down on all the waste that's bad for the environment. I like the idea and maybe our family will try it next year!

Dawn said...

Sounds very sound. We're getting things the kids and grands really NEED - nothing really fun, but things they can't afford that are necessities of life. And we haven't bought each other anything for awhile now. Blessings on you this week!

Tammy said...

Groovy, you hit upon what our church is apart of...it's called The Advent Conspiracy and many churches across the country have gotten on board. It encourages the congregation to at least cut back a little in what they might normally spend...and take that extra money and give to the needy- or more specifically in our case, dig wells for pure drinking water where it's needed in poor countries- and do it in Jesus name.

It also encourages us to spend more time with family in quality time this season...in those simple, old fashioned ways...and not just focus on spend, spend, spend.
We have indeed cut back this year...but honestly- not as drastically as we probably should. Yet, at least we are consciously trying...because as you said, the kids always seem overwhelmed on Christmas morning. I want them to truly appreciate the gifts they do get...and to focus on Jesus.

Sorry to get long winded...all that to say, good for you!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I want to do what you are doing so badly. It is an excellent idea. The excess of Christmas when it comes to gift-giving actually really depresses me. I'm going to try and do it!