For the past several years, Christmas has been somewhat – overwhelming? Out of focus? Granted, I’ve gotten my shopping done early and we’ve enjoyed things like lots of evenings with homemade hot chocolate, classic Christmas movies, going to see Christmas lights, reading the Christmas story and going through What God Wants for Christmas. But our focus has still been off and the amount of materialism causes my head to spin.
Last year, we had three extra little girls in our home. Two of them arrived on December 20th! I was told to choose gifts from the gift room at DFCS, which I really appreciated. A friend went and got the girls each a TON of Hello Kitty stuff. I went shopping and got things they had asked for. They had oodles and oodles of gifts to open. And oodles and oodles of crap got boxed up to go with them when they left 5 days later. Quantity definitely won out over quality last year.
To be honest, I began struggling with this several years ago. One Christmas when Alyssa had so many gifts to open that it literally took 2 hours (of course, there were crazy rules about taking turns opening gifts and only opening one thing at a time blah blah blah) but it was just all too much. All of the STUFF is just – dizzying. (Is that a word?)
A couple of years ago, I heard someone say they give four gifts – “Something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read.” This seemed like a really balanced approach to me, particularly if the gifts were of better quality than all the little random things that get bought and then break within a few days.
This year, I am going to try to focus on family time. We’ll again do hot cocoa and apple cider. We’ll go see the computerized Christmas lights at a house nearby. We may go to a play. We’ll do our Advent calendar and What God Wants for Christmas. Decorate the tree and just enjoy each other.
When it comes to gifts, I’m going to *try* to follow the 4 gift rule. I may also add pajamas and stockings – I may not. It depends on if I can keep from going overboard on stockings (I have a history of doing this! Because I LOVE stockings!) We may buy memberships to places or season tickets. I’m still mulling it over. I just know I can’t go buy a bunch of things that will be clutter down the line. I’m also going to focus on handmade items that will have meaning.
I’m going to struggle if we have more foster children in our home (although right now, it’s looking like we won’t**), because I want to give them the Christmas they may never have again – and yet, I don’t want to make them think it is ALL about having 50 presents to open under the tree… I want to show them what FAMILY is instead.
**Our home is being changed to an ADOPTIVE home until after the adoption of Baby Girl is finalized! If more foster children come into our home before that paperwork is completed, they will stay. But after it is done, no other fosters can be placed until we are switched back to a foster home after adoption.