Sunday, October 12, 2008

Keeping It Simple
(Yes, I KNOW this is October)
Long before the economy headed south, I was seriously Re-Thinking Christmas. Having a Garage Sale yesterday confirmed that I was on the right track ( too much STUFF!)
Rather than spend months shopping for gifts that my children simply do not need or, in many cases, take completely for granted, I have decided to spend my energy simplifying Christmas. Less time in the Malls, Discount Stores, Catalogs, and Web-sites. Less Money spent. Less, Less, Less. I suspect, in many ways that this LESS approach will bring MORE to our Christmas Celebration.
The Santa Magic is still alive and well at our house. (I will punch the first person who tells either of my daughters about Santa) In this case, Katherine's naiive simplicity at eleven years old is a blessing.
With a determination to simplify on my mind each day, I was excited to come across these very well said thoughts.
Give Them Something They Want
Give Them Something They Need
Some Sort of Toy
And Something To Read
This motto can be adapted to your goals and circumstances. I would probably include something to wear in my motto. Click on this link for more of where Mique got this great idea.
One idea I am fine-tuning is a letter my girls will receive from Santa the first weekend after Thanksgiving.
The letter will contain an explanation that parents all over the world are not able to give as much money to his as they have in past years. (That is how we have always explained why some people get more or less from Santa....that parents still have to give him some money to help out with expenses) Santa will ask them to write down ten (or so) items they want for Christmas and send the list to him (Macy's has a great North Pole Mailbox this year...I'll post details later). Santa will then choose THREE items from this list to bring on Christmas. The THREE gifts symbolize the THREE (I know we don't know the exact number) Wise Men and their Gifts to Jesus. After all, if THREE gifts was good for Jesus, it is certainly enough for them.
Another area we are simplifying is not giving as many tangible-purchase-at-the-store gifts or calorie-laden baked goods. We will give coupons for things like a day of baking and crafts for friends, baby sitting, pet sitting, Game Night with friends, a week of carpooling, an hour helping clean or do a project with a friend, etc. We will make coupons for the services we decide to give. Making a fancy coupon is not necessary, though. Simply writing the service you would like to offer inside a Christmas Card is ideal.
A few years ago, rather than cookies or popcorn tins (our standard gift) we gave babysitting coupons to all of our friends who had young children. It was a coupon for a Date Night with free babysitting. It was received with a very grateful response.
Here are some ideas for simplifying with your extended family.... ask everyone to take what they would normally spend on gifts for each other and:
1) Save it toward getting together for a Family Reunion or Family Vacation at some point during the next year.
2) Choose a needy person, family, or Charity. Using the the money you would normally spend on each other, help someone else in need. In turn, this becomes the best gift you can give your extended family...that of working together in love and service.
With a focus on simplifying and of giving meaningful, well-thought-out gifts I am already feeling the peace that should come with Christmas.
Let me hear your thoughts......
Are you on the same page?
Are you simplifying Christmas?
If so, how are you simplifying?
What is a simple, meaningful gift you have received or given?
Do share....
We all need to help each other Simplify!
I'll post more on this subject in the months to follow....


superherotrainer said...

I totally agree with this and got some ideas from your post. We have been doing the three gift each for many years now and it has made a world of difference. We do one gift from Santa, one from mom and dad, and one from just dad (we did this because it is usually the mom doing all the shopping). We also try to get things they all can share and enjoy together. I love the coupon idea!!

KYoho said...

I love your ideas too! I also love what you said about 3 gifts (good enough for Jesus, it's definitely good enough for everyone else) and that little poem by Mique. I'm getting excited for Christmas!

John and Katie said...

Shauna, my heart goes out to you for all of the troubles you are having and for the blessings you've received. As for Christmas, would you like for me to e-mail Santa and ask him if he would call again on Christmas Day?