Do you think Christmas is too commercialized? Are you frustrated that the celebration of the Incarnation of our Savior has turned into a season of stress and debt?
Our family has been trying to scale back and choose wisely how we spend our time and money during the Christmas season. We try to choose activities that will foster family closeness and make sweet memories. We try to find ways to minister to and bless others. We have also scaled back on the gifts, spending less money and less shopping time. Now, we’re spending more time baking and making, things we can do together -or at least things I can do in the kitchen while my husband plays board games with the children nearby.
I don’t want to give away any Christmas surprises because some of my family reads this blog. But I will say that I enjoy putting together less-expensive themed gift boxes or bags. I also have learned the joy of giving family gifts — less money spent and the opportunity for extended family to make their own family memories.
For several years, we were giving our children three gifts for Christmas: a main gift, a new pair of pajamas, and a smaller gift. This was in addition to the new ornament we gave each child and to the new Christmas hardback book we purchased for the whole family. This was also in addition to candy for the stocking and maybe even a small gift to tuck inside the stocking. Last year, we decided to give each child one gift. We continue to give the new ornament soon after we put our tree up and to put treats in the stocking. Though the girls miss getting a new pair of pajamas, the children don’t really mind only receiving one gift from us. They get gifts from grandparents and other family members, so there is plenty of unwrapping going on around here.
This year, only one of our children is receiving a gift from a retail store. One child is receiving a vintage gift we bought on EBAY. One child is receiving a gently-used gift we bought at a thrift store. Three boys are receiving some really cool vintage toys we’ve had in storage for years (shhhh! don’t tell them!). None of our children will be disappointed that their gifts are not brand-spanking new. All of our children will love their gifts because we are getting them what we know they have wanted.
So that’s the direction we’ve been moving in at Christmastime — less spending, less stress, more making memories and serving others. And who knew we were part of a larger movement, a conspiracy even? The Advent Conspiracy is a movement inspired by the notion that the Incarnation was a world-changing event and our celebration of Advent and Christmas should be world-changing.