I am craving simplicity this year. And after a presidential election that was so divisive, I'm also craving family and togetherness. This year, we, as a family, have made some decisions about how and where and why we are going to spend our money, and I wanted to share some of those ideas here.
Operation Christmas Child
In the church I grew up in, most years there was an Angel Tree. The paper ornaments listed a child with their age and a list of things they needed/want. Many of these children had parents who were incarcerated or worse, and our gifts would be all they had on Christmas Day. Giving to people in need is a good reminder of what the season is (well...should be) about.
I wanted to start this tradition with our little family, especially now that Aurora is more cognizant of presents and giving. Along with our big girls, we put together a shoebox for Operation Christmas Child, a ministry of Samaritan's Purse. We chose a girl, aged 2-4, so that Aurora could really help in the gift choosing. We told her it was for a friend who needed her help because she wasn't going to be able to get Christmas presents. Our sweet girl was very concerned about that--and equally disappointed that she wasn't going to get to meet "her friend" when we dropped off the box yesterday! We filled the box with mini-toys, some candy, an ornament and a card with family photos in it. We can track our box to see where it goes, and we included our address in the hopes that we might someday get a reply from the recipient of our box.
Like I said, I am a HUGE gift-giver. Every time I see something I think Aurora might like around the holidays, and it's on sale, I get it. This leads to a lot of excess, especially as she gets so many gifts from the rest of our family. I saw this idea on Pinterest, and decided to make it our guidelines for family gift-giving. Even the teenage girls thought it was a good idea.
Giving Gifts with Heart (and Mind)
As a small business owner myself, I know how stressful the holidays can be for small businesses. When a friend posted this guide on Faceboook, I also adopted it for our family. We want to shop and celebrate small--supporting independent and local businesses whenever we can. It's also a good reminder to be thoughtful and give meaningful gifts (not just a lot of random things or something that costs a lot).
The spirit of the season is about giving. It's about love and family and sharing. Those things have gotten lost in past years--I, too, have gotten sucked in to the sales and the craziness. I want this year (and the years to follow) to be different. I want to create traditions and memories, and I want to spend money wisely. I keep thinking of the famous carol Silent Night, where we sing "all is calm, all is bright." How often is the Christmas season like that?
How do you avoid the seasonal hubbub? Do you have any special traditions in your family that help you to focus on the real spirit of the holiday season?
Thanks for letting me share this with you! I hope it can inspire you to make a few simpler choices too.