As you may have picked up from skimming the last few posts, I have issues with Christmas. My first issue was that I was afraid to even admit that I don't like Christmas. Only heartless people don't like Christmas, right? Well, this year I was determined to avoid the numb feeling that seemed to invade my heart around Dec 1st, and whole-heartedly tackle this wonderful holiday.
So I was forced to ask myself, "Why, exactly, don't I like this holiday?" It's not because it's Jesus' birthday. I love Jesus. It's not because it's at the beginning of winter. I like winter, almost, if I have enough socks on. Then I figured out my dislike of Christmas lies in the American version of the holiday, which includes overspending, overeating, general over-doing of the holiday. I found myself clutching my husband's shirt, shrieking, "CHRISTMAS IS NOT IN LINE WITH MY VALUES!"
A friend recommended a great little read (Hundred Dollar Holiday), a pastor had a great sermon series (Babylon A.D., about the American consumer society being the modern-day manmade empire), and all of a sudden I was given permission to celebrate the holiday in a simple, real, more Keri-like way. (Why I need "permission" to do the right thing is a whole other dissertation.)
In reality, not much changed.
My children each received one needed, pre-owned, non-packaged gift from us parents. My close relatives received one or two needed items, lovingly and frugally purchased and packaged. My other relatives and friends received edible, homemade, or repurposed gifts from us.
But I'm hopeful for next year.
No trash? No excess? No fret?
Check out how beautiful homemade gifts can be:
Here's how I chose to use all that glass I had around.
Here's my first attempt at making marshmallows.
My mother is so kind and actually called them "gourmet," even before she knew I made them. I love that woman.
Here's how me and the hubby get busy after the kids are in bed.
The picture doesn't show the ONE HUNDRED AND TEN OF THESE THAT WE MADE.
Here's how spiffy some (almost) trash-free gifts can look. They are packaged in butcher paper and decorated with mesh bags that oranges, garlic, avocados come in. The paper can be recycled and the mesh bags get one last hoorah before heading to the dump.
And some out-of-town grandmas received a super-cute and affordable photo book, with pictures like this:
Here I am with my family.
Do I look relaxed? Do I look like I'm enjoying the holiday? Compared to last year, when I spent most of the time in the fetal position (at least mentally), I'd say the stars are brightly shining.