As we plunge headlong into the holiday season, I’m thinking a good bit about the consumer aspect of Christmas. You see, our family doesn’t celebrate Christmas…but we’re somehow obligated by the pervasiveness of Christmas to do something, at least for our kiddo. So we don’t celebrate Christmas, per say, we celebrate the season. There seem to be three major aspects to “Christmas” these days: religion, consumption, and connecting with family/friends. Our focus is on the connecting. We celebrate family and friends. We give gifts. But we give mindfully. We don’t just walk into a store and grab things from the shelves, stuffing our carts and emptying our wallets in order to give things. We thoughtfully pick gifts or make them in order to show interest, appreciation, and gratitude.
As our kiddo has gotten older, we’ve definitely scaled down the number of “things” we give as gifts. He’s now able to understand that tickets to a show are more valuable than a few sets of LEGO. And, in the long run, he’s much more likely to remember and appreciate the experience of seeing the show than he is to remember one set of LEGO out of the dozens he’s gotten over the years.
He is now involved in planning and making gifts for others (can’t tell you exactly what yet…). We spent time deciding who would like which things, decorating things based on individual people’s interests, and talking about each person while we worked. And I’m pretty sure that the people receiving his gifts will cherish a handmade, unique gift item more deeply than something chosen from a store shelf.
The focus on thoughtfulness and connection has helped him see this holiday season differently. It’s not about amassing vast quantities of stuff; it’s about demonstrating love and care for the people in our lives.
Here are some gift ideas that can help create memories without the collection of things:
25 Non-Toy Christmas Gifts from Kayla Aimee
31+ Non-Toy Gift Ideas for Children from Nourishing Joy
Gifts for Grandparents from The Shopping Momma
25+ Handmade Gift Ideas Under $25 from No Biggie
100 Handmade Gift Ideas from Crazy Little Projects
As an aside, here is an interesting article on The Psychology Behind Gift Giving.