Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Simpler Christmas


The first Christmas was very simple. In fact, it wasn't Christmas at all, just an ordinary day with an extraordinary event - the birth of Jesus. 

For many years I joined everyone I know in making Christmas more complicated than it has to be, and certainly not about Christ. It was all about tradition, about us, about myself. Presents, decorations, trees, tons of events, holiday foods (and overeating), and general busy-ness. 

I got married, we had a baby. Suddenly the Christmas we knew was against everything we wanted to teach our children. Presents for those clearly not in need, gluttony, irresponsible and unnecessary spending, and general chaos. Everywhere you hear people complaining about how many more presents they still have to buy, how busy the holiday season is, how little time they have, so many things that 'need' to be done! Or do they?

Are we robbing ourselves of time? Skipping what's important and focusing on the material? Are we just doing what we feel obligated to do because of the expectations of our friends, family, society? Our homes and our families have to look perfect at Christmas, or so we're made to think.


This photo really puts things in perspective.

Like everything we do here at Eco-Babyz, we are going against the grain. Again. We are so incredibly blessed to have so much more than we could possibly need. We have a healthy family, food, and jobs. There are many who don't. Actually, we're probably in the 10% of the world population that have clean drinking water and money in  the bank. The last thing I want to do is go and spend that hard-earned money on more stuff when so many people go to sleep on an empty stomach, day after day. We simply do not want to be part of the spending frenzy of the holidays.

There are no presents in our home. There is no tree, even though we contemplated getting a real one (we love the smell and our toddler loves lights). No excessive holiday dinners hosted by us, sorry friends. No 'to do' lists. No 'must go' events to attend. We are spending the weekend living in the moment, thankful for the couple of days my husband has off work, enjoying being together today, because we aren't even guaranteed our next breath. Right now is all we have.

There is no 'perfect' Christmas scene in our home. I do not have it all together. It's not as clean as I would like it to be. I'm a little overwhelmed by my toddler's unpredictable behavior as a result adjusting to life with a baby brother. I'm not making any gourmet meals. When the babies are a bit older I would love to start our own traditions, serving those in need at Christmas time.

So do I look down on people who celebrate whichever holiday? No, not at all. You do whatever you think is right. Be honest with yourself.

A fellow blogger at Life As Mom also put this all into words very well, worth a read.


Photo: stock.xchng

6 comments:

  1. I completely agree that Christmas in America is over advertised. For us this Christmas is a bit different, just because we have older kids we do teach them what Christmas is all about, we are making cake for Jesus =) and kids love that. Although we never thought we should go and spend so much money on christmas presents, grandparents always had the desire to do it and we just let it be. We don't even have as much toys as most family's do. For that reason through out the year i go and get what i think our kids might like or need.
    After all its more of a tradition to us to have a fresh christmas tree, (last year it was so much fun to go in the forest and pick our own) for kids to decorate it, and make winter crafts, bake cookies, and i love to cook and bake. Go to the church service and see the play about Jesus born, such a need thing for kids to see it visually.

    For some reason when it comes to Christmas i have desire to just spend quiet time all by myself although i don't get that opportunity.
    What i do miss is getting together with a bit family and have some fellowship.

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  2. For me Christmas is about love, giving, and family. I agree that Christmas shopping got out of control in this country. But I think when I got something special for my kids, I paid for the joy of giving, and for their joy of playing and learning, and I also supported the people who made it, and their family.

    God created a beautiful world and I think it's natural for people, who are God's creations to want to decorate their home, and experience the joy of being surrounded by beauty, and share it with their family and guests. Especially, on God's birthday. And it's a great opportunity to teach kids that we do it, because it's a special holiday. Decorating for me is not a stressful chore, it's a special joyful family activity.

    Family gatherings is another opportunity for joy. God created us to enjoy each other. I love it when my kids see that they are a part of a large extended family with lots of aunts, uncles and cousins, who love them and all share the same great-grandparents and history together.

    For me food is not about gluttony. You don't have to stuff yourself. Preparing a Christmas meal is about the joy of creating and sharing with your family. The leftovers will not be wasted, of course.

    A Christmas play in church is a great educational opportunity for kids. It's a chance for them to feel like they are not just a part of a family, but a part of a larger community who also celebrate Jesus's birthday, and it's magical, interactive, visual and educational.

    To me it's a chance to experience the 'spirit' of Christmas through all senses, to bring joy into stressful everyday life, and remind yourself and your kids that life should be about joy, sharing, family and friends, after all that's what God intended it to be.

    I agree that it should be a time to think about those less fortunate, and I would like to incorporate more of that into our family traditions.

    I think part of your view about Christmas has to do with dealing with a newborn and a toddler, and just a general business of everyday life, which leaves little for extra things on your to do list. I think as the kids get older, and you will have some more free time, you will have more Christmas traditions and will be willing to experience more elements of Christmas (and they will be asking for it).

    I know our views are a little different, but I understand where you are coming from.

    Every family is different and has a right to choose their own family traditions. I know you said you don't like that it's about tradition, but traditions can be very different, and whatever you choose do with your family every year is a tradition. Celebrating Jesus's birthday no matter how elaborate or simple, is still a tradition. Just like you choose how to celebrate your childs birthday, everyone has a right to do it however it fits their view of life.

    I do agree that it's good to use self-restraint, whether it's shopping or eating, even decorating. And I also refuse for this time to be stressful and chaotic.

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  3. Never thought of it this way, but I agree with this so much. This post has really put things into a new perspective for me.

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  4. I LOVE this post! You put into words exactly how I feel and very closely what my Family has chosen to do during Christmas. Thank You SO much! It is good to know I am not the only one who feels this way.

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  5. I agree 100% girl. I think the best gift you could give your kids is to teach them how to be simple, that way they'll appreciate even the littlest thing you'll give them. The most important thing is for the whole family to spend time together and give them a happy memory on how it is when everybody is getting along and appreciating each other.

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  6. I am all for a simple christmas, like those I celebrated with my parents. I refuse to give my son a thousand presents just because that seems to be the current trend.

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