I felt out of place yesterday at Preschool drop-off. The parents were in line waiting and discussing their gift-giving issues: namely, that Santa has left sooo many packages from Amazon, they are running out of places in the house to hide the gifts for their kids. Another Mom moaned that she hasn’t even started shopping and the lists keep growing. More complained that they will never get the gifts wrapped in time.
So much stress.
I didn’t offer my own experience this year, I stood quietly and listened, thankful that my gifts are here, and wrapped – all in a single cardboard box on my dining room table. We had 11 people to purchase for this year (more than most years). We didn’t “minimize” the gift giving- it seemed as though most gift ideas for people we were given were for food related items, or things that can be used nearly year round.
My son, who is 5, only requested a copy of Minecraft, which we did purchase for him. I also got him a set of Tinker Toys since he enjoys building things. For stocking stuffers, I got him a few new toothbrushes, some glitter glue and craft items, and a checker board from Dollar General. I think because we don’t have cable, and what tv he does watch is on Netflix, he wasn’t exposed to as many commercials for toys. His list was short and true to what he really loves.
Thanks to shorter lists, and the use of online shopping, instead of stress from rushing from store to store, desperate for the latest item, I spent more time baking cookies and building gingerbread houses with Vince. Our family spent an hour or so wrapping gifts. It has been one of the few holiday seasons I did not feel completely overwhelmed and burnt out. I was able to make memories with my son and husband that I hope to remember for a lifetime.
It’s not to say this season will be picture perfect- My husband will be working on the actual holiday. My son will be at his father’s house the entire Christmas weekend. My parents are over an hour away, and my sister and brother in law will be working and live out of town as well. We have real logistical issues for even celebrating together this season.
Had I faced that, and also the stress of crazy shopping, I would not be able to calmly sit and enjoy what time we do have together– And the time we spend together is the most precious gift I’ve been given this year.