Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How the Guilt Stole Christmas

Guilt likes to tell me that my heart is two sizes too small.
Ok, I admit it. I'm not buying a mountain of presents for my kids. I'm sure financially we could fandangle it, but the truth of the matter is that my kids neither want nor need much.

For example, The Big Sister, age 11, has her own pile of electronics, including a cellphone and so many clothes that she could comfortably make it through one whole month without doing her laundry. She would like new things for her new bedroom and she loves all things zebra, but how much zebra print can one girl need? Thing 1 and Thing 2 are swimming in a room full of books and toys now, so I asked family to follow our lead and not overbuy this year. After all, I'm the lady that usually ends up stepping on and cleaning up the toys.

I love the magic of Christmas morning and the excitement of opening presents, but I'm starting to realize that overbuying is a waste of time, energy and money. My kids can't even remember all their gifts from last year. Yet another reason why I'm learning to let go of guilt and the idea of buying a ton of gifts.

I want to create warm memories of Christmas by doing things together. We love to decorate, make and enjoy yummy things to eat and drink, sing our favorite songs or hymns, watch movies and go to church. The gift of time together is more important to us than overindulging our children.

Another thing, I also worry that the gifts we give to our extended family and friends are worthy of the recipients. We try to be thoughtful and hope it comes across as so. Gift-giving, mailing cards and worrying if you've been thoughtful or charitable enough adds more worry and guilt.

It's hard to remember with all these distractions that Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Christ. And every year, I have to remember why Christmas is Christmas.