We celebrate Christmas and I generally love the holiday season. I look forward to seeing friends and family at parties, many of whom I catch up with a few times of year. As a family, we string up lights, pick out and decorate a tree, cue up Christmas music when we think of it, and *boom* Christmas is in the air.
I don’t host any holiday events, so that eliminates a good amount of stress. Sometimes we travel cross-country to visit family, and that is stressful, but this year we aren’t. I don’t go crazy baking. In fact, I should bake more. Edie helped me decorate the house pre-Thanksgiving, so the stockings have been hung by the chimney with care for weeks now.
But this year, I set off to have a minimal Christmas. A few factors drove this.
First, my parents asked our family and my sister’s family to go on a ski trip right after Christmas. Nothing long, super fancy, or very far. Just some good ol’ fashioned downhill runs and apres ski goodness at an Air B n’ B. My mom is really excited about the three-day menu. After all, most of what we do is gather around some thinly veiled excuse to eat and drink. Bonus points if we partake in physical activity first.
I love skiing but, can we agree it’s a damn expensive hobby? I mean, super fun winter sport, but …. write a check here for lodging, there for one day of kid’s ski lessons, two adult *discount* passes, and goddamn that shit’s not cheap.
So, the ski trip is the experience we are all giving each other, and our crew agreed to pare down on the material goods. Guess who is getting a magnet for Christmas?! Everyone.
Second, we are in the midst of selling and (hopefully) buying a house. I’ve been packing and organizing like a mad woman, filling up bags upon bags of stuff to donate. I’m finding toys, kitchen tools, clothes, and everything else under this hot ass December sun that makes me realize how much STUFF we have. And I’m not even a pack rat. I absolutely love purging. Our children don’t need more stuff. Of course, they are getting a little more stuff. Some of it’s from a toy shop in town. Some is from my friend Craigslist. Some is from the local kids consignment shop. Santa ain’t too proud to bring second-hand gifts to our house!
Lastly, I want to save money. I don’t want to be a cheapskate, but I would like to see less money fly from our bank account. I wish we’d treat our budgets as doctrine. This sounds so flippant, but it’s not meant to be.
While we’re are buying fewer more things, this holiday is far from austere. Our lives are good. They are filled with love and ambition and empathy and education and humor and health. We are incredibly lucky. We have what we need. We give to those who don’t. We support the local economy, the second-hand economy, the sharing economy, and we can all stand to make our lives a bit simpler.