Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Christmas is just around the corner. Usually by this time of year, I have at least written my shopping list. I have some idea of who I am buying for and an idea of what I would like to get them. The past couple of years have been different.

One of the best things that changed for me during the crash of the economy, was a change in priorities. I used to have to buy gifts for everyone. I felt it was the way I showed my love for them. It wasn't always a lot of money, but it was just enough to make me worry about money during the holidays. There has been a fundamental shift in my thinking.

About this time last year, we were moving to our new home after losing our home in foreclosure. Christmas was REALLY small last year. But the year before, we had already made some changes. We switched to drawing names instead of buying for every family member. That was a major change, especially since I was the one that fought that decision for years. But the big change was about how we spent the holidays. We focused on being together instead of "stuff."

It was the best Christmas ever! We had about 17 people most of the time. We always had friends dropping in for a bit. We had every bed, couch, and spot on the floor filled. My house was only 1500 sq. ft so you could imagine how cramped it was. We set up a makeshift ping pong table in the garage, hung a dartboard and everyone brought games. We started about 11:00 am Christmas Eve. We baked desserts and cookies together. We prepared our snacks for Christmas Eve. We played games and laughed so much. We opened our gifts, one each, and had a blast. Everyone got what they wanted because we had put our requests on the back of our names when we drew at Thanksgiving. Christmas morning Mamaw (my mom) made biscuits and gravy for everyone! It was awesome! Then later we prepared Christmas dinner together. Since we were all together, it took away the stress and pressure of traveling between homes and trying to see everyone, not to mention the gas money we saved!

It was chaos, but it was beautiful chaos. Our Christmas was about being together. It was about family. It was about love. It was the first Christmas that I had ever experienced that kicked "stuff" and "What did you get me?" out to the curb where I think it belongs.

I know we are raised in a society where we are bombarded with commercialism. We have become a society where it is all about what do I own. However, I believe that I am not the only one who has changed. Maybe you were not affected too bad by the economy. Maybe your whole world was shaken like mine. Either way, I challenge you to think about how commercial your Christmas has become. I am not asking you to change years of tradition. I am asking you to think for just a moment, how it could be different. How could you change the focus of your Christmas?

I would love to hear your thoughts on your special traditions that have nothing to do with money! As always, thanks for sharing your time with me.

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