Saturday, December 20, 2008

What do YOU want for Christmas?

For that matter, what do you want - just because? I've been thinking about these kinds of questions, lately. Christmas is a time for gift giving, right? (at least in theory anyway) We make our list of people who are near and dear to us, and we begin guessing what might make them happy. Our maybe, our goal is to fulfill some need that they might have. What do they need? What do they want? Sometimes, the hardest part is just figuring out what they don't already have. We assume that what they want, or need, is something that they don't yet have. Is this true, or is it just something that we tell ourselves? Will it make them happy?

I have to be honest, there are things that I want, and there are things that I need, but the things that make me happy, aren't things that can be bought, or wrapped, or placed under a tree. My friend, Kate, did a post and listed 6 things that make her happy. Not one of them could be purchased at Walmart. I suspect that if we were all to make a list of 6 things that make us happy, it would be much the same. It isn't "stuff" that brings us joy and happiness, it's the things that we give ourselves, or treasures that we find in the people around us. I've known Kate for two years now, she has needs, we all do, but most of the things that we "need", in fact, our most urgent needs, are intangible as well. And often times, we live our whole lives with those things right under our noses, or at least within our reach; and for some reason, we are just too busy, too afraid, or too ashamed, to acknowledge them, much less tell anyone else what those needs might be.

So, what's all this about? Where is all of this going? I'm not sure. I'm just starting to feel, yearning actually, that somehow Christmas could, and should be, more meaningful than just a lot of commercialized greed, or the random exchange of "stuff." I know that there really are people that sincerely need material things. Things that could possibly change the direction and circumstances of their lives. I know that there are people who are hurting so much more than my family is right now; Not just financially, but emotionally and spiritually. I'm feeling a need to give something that isn't just an empty and meaningless gesture. Not only for the people in my life, but for others. Have you ever given a Christmas gift that that really mattered to someone? I'm not sure that I have.

Tomorrow, my husband and I are going Christmas shopping, so I've been looking over my children's Christmas wish list. This has been a strange Christmas season so far, in that my kids didn't start making their Christmas lists until a few weeks ago. Stranger still, are the lists that they've given me. Heather's list only contains 5 items, none of them hugely expensive. Jacob only lists four very simple requests. Most of the things on their lists are things that, if they had told us that they really wanted them, they would have gotten them without the benefit of a holiday or special occasion. Maybe not all at once, but they just aren't major purchases, you know? Now my kids are well aware that our money situation is strained this year, but they have both made the comment,

"There really isn't much that I want, or need." and they both seemed believably sincere.

Maybe, it's just wishful thinking, but I am starting to wonder if my children are learning to be content without a lot of "stuff." For teenagers, that's kind of a mature concept, but they do seem to be learning that friends and family are more important than "things."

Maybe, it's time for me to do some re-evaluating and consider making some changes concerning how our family celebrates Christmas? Changes that make the holidays less stressful and more joy filled. That's what I want for Christmas.

3 howled back:

Anonymous said...

Great post. Steven is asking for deodorant, a razor, thermals. It's been like this for a few years. Last Christmas we were shopping for warm hats and gloves because he was going into the shelter. So sad.

Thank you so much for the info on the meds. I was still a little nauseous on the second day but I took my pill anyway and I felt 99% better. Still dealing with the sleepiness but I know it will take awhile.

Thanks again!!!

Anonymous said...

What a nice post. I think your kids are growing up seeing first hand at what makes a holiday special because of what you do - the traditions and the art and craft and seeing you go to so much trouble for the family to create a wonderful and loving setting. That's the stuff that matters the most huh?

If we look for it, we'll still see the spirit of Christmas. I guess we just need to look a little harder and past the bright lights and sales and crazy shopping carparks.

love ya x

jasminharrington said...

Dear mom (Santa),

All I want for Christmas is for my family to be happy. I also want love... lots and lots of love!

Love, Jasmin

P.S. My favorite Christmas was not so much what I got but the presentation. Even though I did not believe in Santa anymore it was the most magical year ever. It wasn't the present (although that was cool too). I was in 6th grade and there was glitter sprinkled throughout the house. Wherever you stepped. I followed it to the the garage where the attic door was. Since we had no garage this is how you got in the house. You had left your hat in the attic door and my little brother and I had to send it back to the north pole so you had it for next year.