Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Simpler Holidays

Change has a considerable psychological impact on the human mind. To the fearful it is threatening because it means that things may get worse. To the hopeful it is encouraging because things may get better. To the confident it is inspiring because the challenge exists to make things better.

-King Whitney Jr

 

Our kids have grown and the gift giving mode in our household changed this year. Instead of buying expensive gifts for each other, we bought tickets for the family to go to New York City. We’re spending our Christmas holiday there.

 

Christmas is just so commercialized now-a-days and the older the kids get, the heftier are the price tags for the gifts they want. We put our foot down and decreed that we will make memories this year instead of subscribing to materialism full on. Instead of buying each other gifts, we wrote a check to help Red Cross on its ongoing hurricane drives and donated some to USO to help deployed young military people pay for their airfares.

 

Thorstein Veblen was right on track about his conspicuous consumption theory. We are ashamed to admit that wewere once caught in the waves of consumerism and technological ostentation. We went to the department stores/malls and braved the holiday crowds to get that perfect gift for each other. We spent so much money on things that did not even give us joy after a week of having it.

 

This is not a change of philosophy because of necessity. We are at the point in our lives where we can go out and get what we want if we want to. We  reflected on past Christmases we’ve had that were centered on the material bounty and we want to take a step towards what we hope is a higher plane. We still want gifts but we want those from the heart. 

 

This year, we will try to celebrate Christmas’ real meaning: sharing, giving, and togetherness. We will make memories to be treasured for eternity. We hope our kids will take their children on vacations at familiar places and say, “Your grandfather and grandmother took us here and we did this.” Each of us is giving each other the gift of time so we can share a memory-making adventure together.

 

For friends and families: we bought consumables, baked cookies, made personal gifts and we’ll be visiting some. For our nephews and nieces: we got them gift cards from their favorite stores. Yes, that is all we are going to do this year. It is actually liberating to do away with all the holiday spending. We look at people who are frantically searching for that perfect store bought gift for that special someone and feel sadness welling in us. We were once those people.  

 

 

Happy Holidays!

18 comments:

my78novata said...

ah I have just written in so many others journals in my posts that I m just ready to hibernate all this hustle and bustly has me ready to hide It brings out my anti social disorder. Im so not up to a social thing. SO SO Not up to it. I just want to hide in my house have one or two big events and be just in my little prarie mode.

mom23nca said...

I love your Christmas this year.  I have really cut down this year as well and would really have loved to take a family vacation instead of gifts for the kids.  Maybe when our youngest gets a few years older.  Thanks for checking on me yesterday, I've just been very lazy lately.

jeanno43 said...

We all celebrate in our own way.  However, we have bought for the two baby grandsons although we have cut down on presents for each other and we have given to charity as we always do not just at Christmas but at other times.

http://journals.aol.co.uk/jeanno43/JeannettesJottings/

jtuwliens said...

I've decided years ago not to succumb to the commercialization and the competition of one-upmanship so many people feel they must participate in.  Nope.  For me, the pressures and expectations isn't what Christmas is about.  For years, I have preferred to take part in the contemplative and private spirituality of the holiday over the extravagance and debt seen so often in our culture.  In lieu of gifts, I (quietly) make a generous donation to my favorite charity (in honor of friends and loved ones).

Shouldn't every day be like Christmas and every night feel like New Year's Eve?
Judith

chatzeekay said...

Very wellw ritten for sure. god bless enoy your holiday and the famliy

tschamberland said...

Bravo!  All it takes is for someone to start and eventually more and more follow.  Good ideas are hard to ignore.  Memories and time well spent stay with us long after commodities are used up and collecting dust.  Have a wonderful holiday in the Big Apple.  

Tammy
http://LifeLiveItOrMissOut.blogspot.com

derasta said...

I started cutting back a few years ago b/c it was getting out of hand...I still buy gifts but not in the amounts I once did...I want to focus the holiday more on family togetherness and baking, cooking and that sort of thing...

flossiepumpkin said...

DC- YOU ARE GOING TO LOVE NYC. AT CHRISTMAS TIME. MAKE SURE YOU SEE THE TREE AT ROCKERFELLER CENTER. THE RINK IS ALSO THERE. RADIO CITY MUSIC HALL AND RIDE UP 5T AVE. I AM A FORMER NEW YORKER, MANY THINGS I HATED, BUT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR, IT IS MAGIC. HOPE YOU GET TO TIMES SQUARE FOR NEW YEARS EVE.   HAVE A WONDERFUL TIME WITH THE FAMILY..ROBERTA.

gabreaelinfo said...

Have A Great Time.

Gabreael

http://gabreaelsbodymindandspirit.blogspot.com/

samnsmile5 said...

This is the way we all should spend Christmas ~ it is about family and taking the time to give of ourselves.  We have scaled back in our Christmas spending and have taken the time to visit people in need.  
What a great tradition you have started.  Enjoy!  Happy Holidays!!
Michele

ryanagi said...

What a fantastic plan! I'll be thinking of you all skating at Rockafeller Center under that big tree. :-)

tillysweetchops said...

The latest i-Pod is quick to date and break, but memories are forever. You've got the right idea. Enjoy your time in the Big Apple!

Tilly x
http://journals.aol.co.uk/tillysweetchops/Adventuresofadesperatelyfathouse/

queeniemart said...

What an intelligent entry and way to live your life. As i age, i could care less about material things...i wish for quiet times, love, acceptance and good health.
Hugs, lisa jo

dakotarose2852 said...

You've hit the nail right on the head.  I think as we grow older and mature, (not that you're old, I don't mean that), we grow out of that commercialism, or is it materialism?  I think this is the one thing that I'm really enjoying about growing older--the wisdom that comes with it.  Now I look back at that silly material girl I used to be and think, "if I could have known then what I know now."  But, of course, it probably wouldn't have made a difference at that time because I wasn't ready to accept that information.  

Spending Christmas in New York City!  How wonderful!  How exciting!  Still, after all these years, after all this time, for me, there's no place on earth like New York City at Christmas.  I know you won't be disappointed.  Where will you be staying?  

In case I don't get back here before you leave, have a very blessed Christmas.
Susan

dotcomdiva831 said...

VERY INTERESTING ENTRY....

HAPPY HOLIDAYS

LOVE YA
KISHA

alphawoman1 said...

What a wonderful idea. I know exactly what you are talking about. I can not believe the cost of the items the kids covet! A digital camera and picture making station. For the love of God! She is 11 years old!! lol.  I am going to write my daughter a letter about what she means to me....I think this will endure a lot longer than a set of long john's from Victoria Secret!

frankandmary said...

I usually go crazy. So far I just bought for dad. It may stay that way

hope5555 said...

I love your idea for how to make Christmas less commercial. I love your idea of "making memories" instead.