Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Skipping Christmas

The other day I told my husband there was really nothing I needed for Christmas. Oh, I have wants, we all tend to have those things we want, but even then, there is nothing I am really salivating over this year.

I thought about skipping Christmas. Much like Luther and Nora Krank in John Grisham's book of the same name. Except there isn't a proposed Caribbean cruise in my future. The idea of skipping the entire commercial aspects of what is really a spiritual, family time, still intrigues me.

My mind gets overwhelmed with the Sunday paper filled to overflowing with more and more discounts. I can't turn on the television without an ad promising peace and joy if I just bought one item or another. My marketing background has made me jaded when it comes to these messages and I pride myself on not falling for them. Yet, I thought about what would happen if we just skipped the whole thing and maybe made gifts.

The children have never been materialistic. They have received nice gifts and we almost always do a family gift. We also send out Christmas cards and bless someone less fortunate. This year we gave two gift to two different Ange Tree children and made a contribute to Little Wishes through my Obama community organizer friends. I told the children we wouldn't have a big Christmas this year. They didn't seem fazed.

I decided they had too many toys last year and have thought that all year whenever I go to my daughters' bedroom. Their collection of stuffed animals, dolls of every size and shape, more doll clothes than a mall, and all the books has taken over every available space. There isn't room if I wanted to add anything else. Now, they are so blessed.

When I told my husband I didn't know if I wanted to do the whole Christmas shopping thing, he said it would be fine. That made me smile because before we dated, he didn't spend any money on the holidays and instead spent the time reflecting and serving at a food pantry. I guess marriage and children sent us to the Malls and the toy section of Target. Yet, we have always blessed others. I think it is the blessing others that had me thinking this year with the economy in the state of disarray.

Many families will not only miss opening a gift on Christmas morning, some will be homeless because of the unending foreclosures, others will skip a big meal because of the incessant job losses, and others will have an empty chair because of the forever war in Iraq.

I wonder if I just feel jaded. Sure, I want more books than I can read and really want a Wii for the family, but it is not something I need. I need my family, my health, food, the clothes I have, and love. Those are needs. I will spend time at my cousin's house and attending events. We will make memories that last much longer than a trinket in a box. Perhaps the rest of the country will skip Christmas and get back to the real meaning of the holiday season.

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