Its Christmas morning. You look around, weary from the late-night wrapping, and scan the chaos that was once your family room. The carpet is sprinkled with chunks of wrapping paper, curls of ribbon, bits of plastic, empty boxes, cookie crumbs, and a sparkle or two of tinsel from the tree. One of the kids is already crying over a broken toy, and the other is locked into screen mode on his new iPad. The occasional curse word rises from the basement, where your husband is putting together his new grill. You have in front of you a neat pile of unwanted sweaters, slippers, gloves, and hats, just like every other year. You are exhausted from the shopping, baking, cooking, cleaning, and wrapping, yet you only have a couple of hours until you will have to begin the preparations to entertain the entire family with a beautiful holiday spread.
Have you ever stopped to consider that we force ourselves through this holiday misery every year, and within a few days of the New Year, we have forgotten most of what it was all about? Maybe there’s a way around this. Maybe the family could be happy with some changes. Consider, if you will, the “easy” holiday season.
What if, instead of shopping until you are miserable, trying to find the perfect gift for each member of your family, you were to give each of them something that would hold special meaning, instead of buying a whole list of “things” wrapped in packages that will likely be tossed aside before you know it?
What if, instead of the rubble left behind after the gift opening, there was a nice, clean house, in which you could all enjoy some time together? What if your gifts brought the family together, rather than sending each of your loved ones off to his or her corner to obsess over that perfect gift?
Your holiday could take a whole new turn, if you would be willing to consider simpler, more meaningful gift-giving. Let’s think of what a gift really is: a thing given willingly to someone without payment. Huh…well, that certainly does NOT sound like one more pair of gloves, the latest plastic toy, or a Christmas tree sweater, now, does it? It sounds to me like the idea of a gift is more like something that might make the people on the receiving end happier, or make things easier for them. Something to really show you care about them.
So, (stick with me here) maybe you and your family could explore the possibility of giving each other free or inexpensive things that would make them smile, or feel loved. Dad might really like help raking the leaves or mowing the lawn. Mom might appreciate a night off from cooking for the family. Gift coupons for various “chores” could really mean a lot to your family members, and don’t cost a thing but time. And with a little cash to supplement, there are other things to spend money on that might be more special than that plastic toy or new piece of technology. Susie might love the idea of a mom & daughter spa day together. Jimmie might be over the top with tickets for him and Dad to go to a football game together. Maybe the family could plan a vacation together.
I’m not saying you can totally go from a commercial Christmas to one with no packages to open, but you CAN make the holidays more family-friendly, and meaningful, if you are willing to consider some creative gift-giving. So, as you vacuum up the tinsel, and take out the trash, think about how your next Christmas could be very different.
Barb is a long-time educator who loves to write on the side. She is a cat and dog lover, and enjoys her animal menagerie very much. Barb likes to look at life from different perspectives, and find humor in interesting situations. You can find her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.