It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
Time to render a Noel Declaration of Independence.
Time to just calm down.
Time to simplify.
Time of celebrate simply Christmas.
Each year, I purchase a Christmas ornament for each of the kids and for Michael that has to do with something significant in each of their lives over the previous year. For example, the year Madison was living in Paris, I found a beautiful glass ornament of the Eiffel Tower. Michael’s first year to compete at Toastmasters International, I bought a microphone ornament. I mark the name of the recipient and the year on each of the ornaments and on Christmas Eve, we open those ornaments, place them on the tree, and reminisce about the events of the year. Nine gifts, but one general category that serves as yearbook, heirloom, and decor.
2. True Generosity
There are so many great organizations out there that provide all kinds of ways to be generous with others in the world around us. My personal favorite is Compassion International and the children our family sponsors. Rather than one more gaming component or online service, what about a gift that gives all year long to someone across the globe? And it’s a gift that also gives to your family, by reminding all of us to be intentional in the care and provision for others.
After hauling in a bunch of gifts through the years that were only going to be played with for approximately 14 minutes, it finally dawned on me that I’d rather give a treasure than temporary. We’ve got some great antique shops in our city, and I began making a little trip to those spots to see if I could find gifts with history and story instead of plastic and fad. Once year I found an amazing antique stereoscope viewer for one of the kids. Another year, it was a set of antique minibooks of Shakespeare that were collectibles at the beginning of the 20th century. These kinds of items have been so treasured by my gift recipients and are things they care for and keep long after the garland has been packed into the attic.
The greatest gift I can give my people is time. I know, I know, very Hallmark card, but still. My kids crave more than ever a few nights throughout the holiday season where we sit down, cuddle up, binge on popcorn and watch our favorite Christmas movies whilst basked in the gaudy glow of the Christmas tree. No gift bags required, no hunting down the Scotch tape. Just time, wrapped in a slower pace and all the best that speaks home.
Choose the number of gifts you’re going to give. Now, drop that number by a bit. And then do it again. Reduce.