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Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Evaluation



Every year I try to de-commercialize Christmas. I am up against some stiff competition in this arena, as I'm sure you are aware. Not only are the kids bombarded by television and radio ads as usual. Now they are also wooed by postal mail and email. I delete the emails, but those catalogs are devoured, circled, cut out and poured over time and time again.

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?) bought them gifts rather unexpectedly. He was afraid I wouldn't accept them from him, so didn't go overboard, which I really appreciated. It was nice for them to have something else to open on our Christmas morning at my house. I hate people to spend money on us, so it took me a bit to get used to the idea. The so sweet fact that he thought of them when he has no legitimate reason to was overwhelming. After they opened them , the only trouble for me was that they loved them. More than my gifts! They played with them almost the entire day! I'm teasing, of course, I adore that he knows them well enough from the stories I tell and the few interactions they have had to pick out perfect gifts. They were even hands-on and a bit educational, so he obviously knows me as well.

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?

4 comments:

Laurel said...

Thanks so much for sharing this, Kolbi! We are constantly on the quest to de-commercialize, also, and to put the focus on Jesus. It is such a challenge in our material based society, isn't it? I'm glad you're making progess - that counts for a lot!

Kolbi said...

Hi Laurel! I hope you had a blessed Chrismas full of relaxing family time.

Nikki said...

I think the real question is whether or not you got yourSELF something for Christmas!?!??!?!

I bought myself three new CD's. ;-)

Kolbi said...

I was nice to myself, I spent $100 on books!