Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Frozen pizza and tater tots?

Imagine watching a child open a Christmas present. Oooooh! Their eyes light up. It is something fantastic! Watching them inspect the precious new toy and try it out sends you to a happy place back in your own childhood.

Then someone snatches the new toy away and shoves another gift in their face. No time for playing! There are lots of gifts left to open.

Have you ever experienced this? I have seen it a few times. It always makes me sad. I think we are doing our kids a great disservice by overloading them with Christmas gifts. It takes away from the holiness of the day. It cheapens the gifts themselves.

I've been struggling with simplifying the Christmas season for several years. I've tried, without much success so far, to get grandparents to cut back to one gift per child. With difficult economic times settling in on our country, it seems that many are ready to hear the message of creating a more meaningful Christmas experience.

I encourage you to check out Advent Conspiracy. The concept behind it is to worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all. How can one spend less and give more at the same time? I think it is an example of the law of diminishing returns where the value of the additional stuff you give decreases as you buy and give more stuff.

I'm sure that we all have an example of an especially memorable Christmas or holiday where we did things differently. I remember Thanksgiving 1999 in particular. Thomas was born a few weeks before and I was NOT going to cook a big traditional dinner. We ended up eating frozen pizzas and tater tots. The kids loved it! I'll never forget that year.

Another year when money was extremely tight, I bought a 20lb bag of rice and and some fabric remnants to make rice bag bed warmers for all the kids. (You put these in the microwave oven for a few minutes and you have a nice source of moist heat for your aching back or just to thaw out your freezing toes.) They loved these and had a great time lining up at the microwave every evening before bedtime.

Sometimes when holiday preparations seem overwhelming I think, "we could just have pizza a tater tots again."

What are some ways that you keep your Christmas meaningful and manageable?

**Tomorrow, just for fun: share your Thanksgiving horror stories!**


Sally said...

We had our "Christmas" with my sister and her family tonight b/c we won't be with them at Christmas and they're here for Thanksgiving. So, the kids start opening gifts. It's late, we're tired, they're tired, the floor is a mess of paper and ribbons. And what do we do?? We force the next gift on them as soon as they open the first, even though they want to play with the first. Oi-vey! All that after I just listened to Joyce this morning. Baby steps, right?

Stephanie @ Ralphcrew said...

Yeah...baby steps. :)

Regina said...

I've been trying to think of ways of simplifing the holidays too. I love the pizza and tater tot story!! I will be checking the advent conspiracy.

Lacey said...

You know, my favorite part of Christmas is driving around with the boys looking at Christmas lights. They love to find houses with lots of lights. Real memories for them.

Leslie said...

I'm with you on the simplifying! Wish I had a magic answer. We've cut down on gifts a lot too.

BTW, I would love your help on the chip-in. I'll email you!


Anonymous said...

I know you've been reading my blog where I shared a couple of ideas...the best being opening 1-2 gifts per day for 7 days.

Thanksgivings have been pretty good for us. For 6 years we went camping at Thanksgiving (strikethrough: to get out of family gatherings) because it is a great time to have a long weekend away. About 4 of those trips we took a sibling (to us) who struggles with the mix of big group gatherings. We did everyone a favor with that, and enjoyed her company also.