It was a religion that I’d never heard about before. I was horrified and wanted nothing to do with it. But maybe I was wrong.
I was in fourth grade when my teacher announced that while she celebrated Christmas... she did not believe in exchanging gifts.
My mind spun at the thought. I was outraged that such a religion would even exist. What about tradition? The happiness of children? Brightly wrapped presents?
Fast forward to a few weeks ago when my daughter and I had a conversation.
“What would you think if we stopped exchanging gifts?”she asked. My mind spun at the thought. Not give Christmas gifts to my children? Over the years, we have purposely made our Christmas less chaotic. My sisters and I decided it was silly to buy gift cards for each other's children. We stopped exchanging with other family members because we didn't want them spending their retirement money on presents. For different reasons our Christmas list was shorter. But not buy presents for my own kids?
“Lets see how your brother feels about this...”
I needed time to reflect. Why did I have such strong emotions about giving gifts in the first place? It wasn't receiving gifts that mattered...although one of my all time favorite Christmas gifts was an old shoe of my son’s. In preschool, they put some clay inside it, stuck some hearts on a stick and made a sign (I love you heart and sole!)
It was giving gifts.
My children know that I love them. But they're adults ...with jobs...they buy what they want or need. So what was the big deal?
It's not like this hasn't happened before.
I started thinking more about my Christmas list and decided that I had it backwards. Giving was still okay. But I should be giving more to those that need it...and less to those that are already blessed.
So, Christmas 2018 is going to look different. I’m putting total strangers at the top of my list. I’m going to dig deeper and give to more charities and try to remember those around me that could use a little help.
And my children will get nothing. (Even typing that feels wrong)
I'm going to try to find some different way to celebrate....I don't have any ideas yet but I've got a whole year. Something radical and fun and unique.
Skydiving will not be on the list...but I'd appreciate any other suggestions!
I want to finish by saying how grateful I am for all the support I have received in the last several months. Thank you for reading my book. Thank you for helping me support local charities. Thank you for being in my life.