It isn’t that we don’t like celebrating each other. It’s just that we got tired of fighting crowds to spend money we couldn’t really afford to buy things none of us really needed. We have our birthdays for special presents, after all.
We reached the point where spending an hour taking turns opening gifts and gathering up a tree’s-worth of wrapping paper became a surfeit. It helped when we opened presents carefully, saving the paper and using it to wrap smaller and smaller presents as the years went by, until the scraps were too small to be reused. It helped when we started using gift bags that are still in the family, still being passed around after years of use and re-use.
But we didn’t get happy until we all agreed, with great relief, that we would only give Christmas presents to the kids 18 and younger. The money we would have spent on gifts, we donate, especially favoring Heifer International.
For more on this concept, read Bill McKibben’s post on the Hundred Dollar Holiday, and this one by Michael Jessen on Unplugging the Christmas Machine.
We still celebrate the holiday, we still give gifts (for the little ones), we give one another presents all during the year instead of strip-mining our bank balances all at a time.
And our Christmas season is merry and bright.
Try it some time, maybe, and see if you agree.
A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: A character celebrates a holiday in a way other people consider odd.