Sunday, November 23, 2008

And it starts.

The count down for Christmas. Except this year I won't be party to it. I don't really care how many days there are until Christmas.

Last week I cared. But this week I don't care.

This week I am already ready for Christmas.

You see, at first I thought, "This year I will make everyone's gifts." I hoarded links, and how-to's, and tutorials. I made a mental post it note list of everyone who "needed" gifts, and what I could give them.

A Christmas checklist. Like every other year. Like every other family.

And then I had a better idea. Why spend all this time frantically trying to make gifts that will never get completed? Just like every other year, I would be forced to run to the store- buying high priced, over priced crap for everyone. Why? For what reason? Did everyone really enjoy last years dollar store lotion?

So, my new idea was just to buy the stuff now. I would shop ahead, and therefore put thought into each gift. I would think about the person, and buy gifts that they would really like. It was a good idea, right?

But, then I had a better idea, helped out by a certain video I saw on youtube.

Why not buy nothing at all? Seriously? I don't even remember what my husband got me last year, much less his Aunt so and so. The gifts I so carefully picked out for my children now sit neglected on a shelf. What is the purpose of all this gift frenzy, the money spending, the debt building, the guilt induced fear of not adding up to everyone else's generosity?

So. I am opting out. No one is getting store bought gifts from me. No one is getting handmade gifts for me. Not my mother, not my pastor, not my son's Sunday School teacher... Not my children.

And I can hear a worldwide gasp. "What about the magic and awe of Christmas for the children?"

My response, " Under Control." My children will not open a single battery operated, plastic, hair growing, gun toting, miniature sized anything.

Nothing they open will have a price tag, a return receipt, or those nasty little screws that drive parents nuts every Christmas day.

They won't make a list, and if they do, I doubt their list will coincide with what they receive.

Because Esther is NOT getting a white horse with a horn out its head.
And Weston is NOT getting the entire Star Wars Lego set. No matter how much he begs for it.
And Marcus- actually, I don't have a clue what he wants. But it probably is long and shoots bullets which he most definitely WILL NOT GET.

As I travel to Ohio to spend Christmas with my parents and siblings. With my sister-in-law Carrie, and with my brother-in-law Jesse. With my little nieces- and my mischievous nephew, I will load my van with gifts wrapped in festive paper and tied with ribbon. Just like every other year. But this year, the gifts that I add to the tree will be far different than any other year.

My Christmas revelation has not turned me into the grinch. It has, rather made me a bit more Claus like. And far more Christ like.

Throughout the day, we will unwrap these gifts. The fist one will be a rectangular one. Under the paper and ribbons, our family will find my father's old black Bible, and he will open it and read the Christmas story. I will hold Esther on my lap and Marcus and Weston will be snuggled under my arm, and together we will have anew, the awe of that very first Christmas.
The Christmas story will remind us what Christmas giving is all about.

And in that spirit, the children will grab another package. Inside the gift bag filled with confetti will be a bag of chocolate chips. Together we will make chocolate chip cookies. And Marmie will have to swat at the children's hands when they try to eat all the cookie dough.

Maybe later, they will unwrap a movie. Not a new one from the store, but an old one. A favorite. Probably Star Wars because I am the only one who hates Star Wars. And we will pop corn the old fashioned way and have a family movie time.

I will have wrapped our well worn games; the ones that we already know the rules to, and the ones that everyone loves. When they are unwrapped we will play them. Grandma too. We will even make her play Bang. If I have to watch Star Wars, she can be forced to sit through a rousing shoot em up game of Bang.

I will wrap up a pair of socks for each kid, because we will need to keep our toes warm for our Christmas day walk, and maybe someone will stay home to make us hot cocoa for re-warming our frozen noses.

This is not a new idea. It's one I learned a long time ago, but the video reminded me of it.

On Christmas day, God gave me His heart. And I plan to celebrate that gift by giving mine.

Want to join me?

As this post gets read by more people and passed around, please comment and add your ideas of what could be wrapped and placed under the tree. Together, we can make this the second best Christmas this universe has ever seen.


Patty said...

No not Bang! Give me the gift of no bang. Looking forward to one of the most wonderful Christmas we have had yet. Except for the Bang.

Gretchen said...

Becka, that is BY FAR the best application of the Advent Conspiracy that I've heard yet. Do you mind if I link your blog to mine so more (like fives more, not thousands *snort*) can read it?

Becka said...

Gretchen, please feel free to share it with others.

Dawn D. Lion said...

Fantastic. I'm inspired! Thank you.

mama k said...

I linked back to you:

I loved reading your thoughts on this. The gifts of "time" were very creative.

Completely opting out of gift giving is not the answer for me, but I can appreciate the concept. I throughly enjoy planning and making gifts for those I love.
Not surprisingly "gifts" is one of my love languages (from the book The Five Love Languages).

Have a very Merry Christmas!

Tara said...

We are trying to make our gifts few and meaningful this year. And some of which are gifts of time and togetherness.

Jerusalem said...

Hey girlie! I have a friend who is doing something similar by having her whole family do coupons for each other for special experiences etc. I am gifts person so I love the gathering and making of the gifts and the challenge of doing it frugally. This year I playing with 2 themes (I have to have a theme or I would go crazy!) and both of them are very simple. I don't do grand. lol. Good luck with your Christmas - I know it will be very very special and full of memories for all of you!

muralimanohar said...

What a cool idea. You are setting up a Christmas to remember (in a good way!)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for letting me know about your post Patty! :) I have never really bought gifts for anyone except my husband and daughter and then its not much lol. But I do know people that feel that they HAVE to buy everyone they know a gift and it plagues them every Christmas. It loses the whole meaning of the season. My intentions with my daughter were to just buy her one special gift but my parents send boxes of gifts, so I really can't stop them LOL. =0 Either way, I like your idea!


Anonymous said...

Jerusalem sent me this.

We're taking a pass this year on the hoopla as well, and I am enjoying a low stress holiday season with my sweet family as a result!

Praise the Lord for rule breakers.


Jen said...

Have I told you lately how you so totally rock?! do.
And like Gretch, I'd love to link your post to my blog.