How can I simplify the season of excess?
Chrsitmas compared to all the other seasons is defined by MORE.
More decorations, more lights, more food, more gifts, more social events, more treats, more eggnog & rum, more baking, more shopping, more packaging..... more... more.... more....
The problem with my desire to simplify is that I like the lights, glitter and cheer... I like the trees and the happy, charged atmosphere.
In recent years I have enforced a limit on my Christmas paraphernalia...a real, physical limit. ALL the Christmas stuff must fit in my Grandfather's Steamer chest at the end of the season... no exceptions. So if I really want another ornament, I have to be prepared to let something of the same size go, the chest is full to capacity, that is a reality. It also keeps my storage solutions simple and out of sight for the rest of the year. A necessity.
The space in my home within my own 4 walls is under control for Christmas, GREAT!
But.... no matter how much I may want it, it's not all about ME or what I want...
Not just an excuse to decorate, Christmas is a time for generosity, thankfulness and giving... however I don't appreciate the chaos and spending that goes along with it. I feel taken for a ride on the Consumerism Express. The adults understand for the most part and I would be tempted to have a "no presents" Christmas with a loving and well thought out excuse to the family... however...
I have 2 sons with many years of experience getting major Christmas hauls.
I have 3 nieces of serious Christmas-magic age.
I have 2 nephews of toy crazy age too
and they have a full family of Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles and Parents that may not be on the same frugal-minimalist agenda that I am. That's the trap isn't it?!
I love them VERY much.
LOVE = GIFTS at Christmas...
...or at least that sure is how it looks to the impressionable munchkins.
I will have to do more research on how to give them a memorable and loving impression without adding to the clutter-junk-disposable toy cycle. I refuse to have my affections be just another toy on the pile this year.
Experience gifts are a good option. But I feel guilty that to use the gifts (lets say a movie pass) some of the nieces and nephews have to take a ferry and drive (taking parent time and money) hmm...I'm thinking.... part of the gift could be myself picking them up from the ferry and taking the to the experience, couldn't it!? I'll have to think about that some more, it may not be practical after all.
Now that the juices are flowing here I'm pretty sure I can think up clutter-free gifts for most of my list. I don't want to spoil it but here are some ideas (If you think you may be on my list, please don't read farther).
...museum membership, satellite radio subscription, a ride on a helicopter, one-meal-per-month-for-a-year-at-my-house vouchers, bouquet-a-month for an out of town relative, Movie passes, subscription, swimming lessons, art lessons, pottery class (fun with friends!) big batch of treats (freezable so they don't have to feel like a glutton), yoga-night once a week at a friend's, garden plant...
The problem is still there though (2 problems really) How can I simplify this season of excess? How can I still say I love somebody at Christmas without giving them something to unwrap?