I’ve been slowly liking Christmas less and less since I was a kid.
Perhaps my biggest frustration isn’t listening to Christmas music (the same 5 songs sung by every signer you’ve never heard of and some you have) but that it has become the titian consumer holiday. Move over Valentine’s Day, your title of a corporate holiday has been lost.
My kids are a bit young to comprehend a lot of the bigger concepts in life (compound interest, sarcasm). Mini Donut is almost 3, so we haven’t gone through the whole holiday thing in general much less the specifics of each one. We just tell him the name of the day, that it is a holiday and that it means we get to see grandpas and grandmas.
Don’t Think Just Buy
That hasn’t stopped our families from pushing their meaning of Christmas on him and us…buy lots of crap you don’t need. I’ve already lost count of the number of people I’ve told no to about stuff they want to buy the kids. (Wasn’t that the point of the stupid list you made me make and send by freaking Halloween?)
My mom told us that no matter what we said she is getting MD a toy car of some sort.
Which flipped us around to say, ”then whatever people get that isn’t on the lists are getting returned or donated.” We will throw the money into the kids’ savings for when they need or want something.
Even before we became minimalists our Christmas lists “sucked” (that’s what my mom says every year about them). Partially the problem is we don’t like cheap, tchotchke things and generally have more expensive items on our personal want lists (i.e Nintendo Switch, nicer headphones, etc). It is also hard to have a list for a kid when he inherited all of my and Ms. Blue Ribbon’s toys that our parents hoarded since our childhood. It also makes matters worse when the family buys him stuff we didn’t ask for, all year round.
On the flip side, we try to give family meaningful gifts like something Mini Donut had made or the good old gift of money. That way the money can be saved, put in a college fund, or spent by the recipient. Making the holidays less stressful on ourselves making sure we got the right gift or not.
One Can Hope
I love my family. My parents visit frequently to see their grandkids but I don’t see my sisters all that often. I live about 50 minutes from my parents and one sister, while my other sister lives another 50 minutes east of them. I wish I got to spend more time with them (harder still when there was a falling out between my sisters).
What I really want is for our family holidays to be just that, family focused. Keep your turkey, save your money, I just want to spend time with family. Maybe my mom wouldn’t be crazy overstressed from all the meal planning and could actually enjoy the holiday for once.
Both Ms. Blue Ribbon and my families have slowly de-traditionalized some of the holidays. One Easter we made our Chicken and Wild Rice soup with Oven Mozzarella Grilled Cheese sandwiches. We got some rude comments from one family member but that was the catalyst that helped the rest realize we just need to be with each other during these times. It isn’t about a meal, decorations, or junk no one really needs; it’s about hanging out with each other.
Slowly But Surely
All good things come with time (hopefully). Who knows, maybe my sisters found this blog and don’t even know it’s me but are thinking maybe seeing each other is more important! (doubtful) We have seen more success with Ms. Blue Ribbon’s family but mine can be stubborn at times (insert comment from Ms. Blue Ribbon ?).
Once my side gets on board, maybe the BoaS household can start doing things like want, need, wear, read. This structures the kid’s lists so they understand what is a need and what is a want. It would also limit their expectations, something I didn’t get as a kid. (I had a list 10+ long by flipping through the Sears catalog).
All we can do is chip away at their thinking.
Do you do more non-traditional holiday celebrations? How much-unwanted stuff do you expect this Christmas, Hanukkah, etc?