CHRISTMAS CONUNDRUMS 2019
The other day, I came across a meme on Facebook. And no, not that funny one I immediately forwarded to my brother-in=law. This was a different meme. One that didn't make me laugh at all; but instead made me stop. It said:
Our culture has bred consumers and addicts. We eat too much, buy too much, and want too
much. We set ourselves on the fruitless mission of filling the gaping hole within us with material
things. Blindly, we consume more and more, believing we are hungry for more food, status, or
money, yet really we are hungry for connection.
- Vironika Tugaleva
Now, as a small business owner, I'm certainly not coming out here today to say that consumerism is the devil and that spending money is going to make you unhappy (please spend your money haha); but what immediately rang true to me here is that I shop - especially Christmas shop - to fill holes that are never satiated by things.
THE HOLES THAT DON'T FILL
I shop shop shop and my children's piles of Christmas gifts grow larger and larger. I shop so that they feel loved. I shop so that they never feel those raging feelings of jealousy and greed that seem to so typify childhood (at least that so typified MY childhood). I shop to keep the magic alive and to keep everything fair (to the penny), I shop so that their love tanks are full and their jealousy tanks are empty.
But. But, I just don't think it works that way anymore.
A few months ago, I was hurrying, piling forgotten toys and the 900 and 901 stuffed animals from under my son's bed into a garbage bag to donate to the Salvation Army while my big kids were at school. As I did so, I watched my hands place toys that no one would miss (because NO one had touched them in months) in the black garbage bag abyss and I realized that most of these toys had been gifts last Christmas. I could actually hear the CHA-CHING and see the dollar signs before my eyes with each new item added to the "donate" bag.
Their Christmas piles had been full, their toy bins were new full, but how full were their hearts? How full were their love tanks?
I'm going to be frank with you here, I LOVE Christmas. I love everything about this season. I really do love love love it. But as I child, I was always painfully aware of what my friends received that I did not. I saw their massive stockings next to my meager one and I felt so much disappointment. Ask my mom, I think I cried every Christmas and birthday for years. So for me, it begs the question: if these occasions were always fraught with such disappointment and hurt, why do I love Christmas so much now?
THE THINGS I REMEMBER
Because every year, even though my gifts were never what I wanted or how many I wanted, my love tank was filled. It was filled when I would follow my dad around with the string of Christmas lights as he strung them through our massive magnolia tree. It was filled when my mom and sister and I would sit down to create gingerbread masterpieces; when the familiar smells of mom's stuffing and dad's turkey would waft out of the kitchen on Christmas day; when we would set the table fancily for anywhere from 6-26 guests. It was filled when my sister and I would sneak a peek into all the Christmas crackers and set them out to provide the most laughs possible. It was filled when we spent the evening and the next evening and the next playing games around the table together. In short, it was filled with time.
It was filled with traditions.
CONSUME VS. CREATE
Instead of just consuming (toys, screens, food, time, stuff), this Christmas season, we, in my family, we are going to create. We are going to create gifts, create opportunities to serve, create traditions, create memories, and create love, create connection, create magic.
This year, for my Victoria BC Christmas Mini Sessions, I offered what I called Christmas Tradition Minis. The sets featured special holiday traditions. And I think that's why it all felt a little bit magical this year. So, get on the list. don't miss out next year, and maybe together, we can plan on doing a little creating.