Another trouble spot in my de-commercialization plan is that I am going solo. The kids even know it. They told me that their dad spoils them at Christmas and they will get piles of presents from the grandparents.
The third issue is internal. I end up putting way more focus on the gifts than I plan. I don't mean too, honest, I can't explain it! Each year I strategize ways to put Jesus at the forefront. Stories we can read, ways to increase the use of the Nativity set, events we can attend, etc. but too often I find myself Christmas shopping instead. I like to think I am a pretty strong woman, but I have been indoctrinated so thoroughly it is hard to break out. Wait a minute, that's placing the blame externally and is not my intention - I have allowed myself to hold on to the lessons I was taught growing up. I am always the weird one, I should be used to it, but I've gotta admit fitting in has its appeal. We already don't do Santa (except for the hats, but they're so cute!) which, I swear, makes some people think about calling the child abuse hotline on me. It's crazy how attached to that whole tradition people are! I hold strong to my beliefs on that issue. That being said, sometime around December 20, I decide to drink the Kool-aid and go spend a bunch of money. This year, I did way better than last year when I decided to compete with Tracy. This year I let him win, and bought sensible gifts in my last-minute remorseful shopping trip. I mean, really, are the kids going to love me less if they each only have one gift, but lots of story telling and game time, NO! They would love it, why can't I stick to the plan, I don't know, ack.
This year a friend, who adores the kids (and how could he not?
So, I'm sure we did not keep the Christ in Christmas as well as the average homeschool family, but darn it we did better than the average American family and that is good enough for me. I know that bar is pretty low, but the older I get, the easier I am on myself, which is only positive. Trying and failing to be perfect can make you crazy and I'm already too far down that path to add any more speed to my travels.
Overall, this year the kids were super happy with how it all went and it was only barely stressful for me and fairly easy on the checking account so I am claiming success.
Side note: Kara and I both celebrated on Christmas Eve and the kids went to their fathers' on Christmas Day. That left us alone on the actual day. We both decided independently to celebrate in a really healthy way: she had wine and I had mimosas. :-) When she called about 10:00 am, we laughed - a lot - at how pathetic it was, but what's a girl to do?