You did it! You bought, wrapped, cooked, baked, wrote, delivered, decorated, visited, sang, drank, cleaned, recycled and spent your way through the SuperBowl/Stanley Cup/Academy Awards/Olympics of family events. Stop for a moment and congratulate yourself! You probably won’t because you have more organizing, grocery shopping, tidying, driving, and vacuming to do before the holidays are over.
Personally, I’ve always loved Christmas and the holiday season. The excessiveness of it all, however, is something that I both loathe and reinforce simultaneously. Despite my best efforts to simplify, I can still be found running around on the days leading up to Christmas looking for “just a few small [read expensive] things” to prevent stocking floppiness. It’s a very predictable and particular type of seasonal virus that infects me around the 23rd and then leaves my body mid morning on Christmas day when I see that the kids have more than they need – way more. When will I learn?
So while the time with family and friends was wonderful I’m feeling a little uneasy. I got sucked in again. Consumer culture had its way with me. So today, I start planning for next Christmas.
After reflecting a bit on my personal values I’ve decided I’m going to focus my holiday planning and gift giving efforts in 2013 on things that  crack us up,  make us feel good and  bring us closer together. Gag gifts like funny teeth (OK, maybe it’s just me that find those funny), video compilations, and framed photomontages all meet the criteria. In terms of “feel good” stuff, I plan to spend some time capturing what I appreciate about my loved ones and putting this into some kind of gift package. When I was about 21 years old, my parents presented giant personalized scrapbooks to my three siblings and me on Christmas day. I’m talking 4 inches high, filled with everything from my ballet report cards to little known details about my parents and grandparents! It’s one of the most meaningful and impactful presents I’ve ever received. I treasure my scrapbook and go back to it often. It’s a gift that keeps on giving 25+ years later! Finally, when it comes to those things that bring us closer together you can’t beat new experiences. We have always talked about mobilizing the whole family to go to a cabin in the woods for Christmas. Maybe 2013 will be the year!
It feels so good just to sit here envisioning a different kind of holiday – one that is more reflective of our values. And while it feels so right to me in this moment, I can see that it is going to take about 12 months to prepare my pre/teen boys for the shock of it all. Christmas 2013 is going to be about evoking positive emotions, not through stuff, but rather through shared laughter and feeling understood and appreciated.
I can feel the eye rolling from here.