Wednesday, December 21, 2011

My Christmas Rebellion

First, a great big, bright, happy, and merry Yule to all my friends!

Yule and Christmas both are about the light returning to the earth.  Yule being specifically celestial in nature, Christmas playing to that in the metaphorical sense of the birth of the Christ child.  Whatever you believe, may you find warmth among loved ones this week.

Those of us in the Western world have likely been scurrying to buy or make presents for all our family and friends, stressing out about the tsunami that is our dysfunctional family dynamics, and trying to keep up on day-to-day activities to boot.

I decided months ago that I wasn't going to participate in present exchanging this year.  I might bake or cook to contribute to family feasts, but I wasn't going to purchase or make anything specifically for Christmas.  I bought some packages of cards from the dollar store and am writing up cards to give to family and friends we see between now and the New Year with little poems I think they'll like handwritten inside.

On present buying, I'm broke.  I knew a couple months ago the season was going to be hard.  I just got back from some serious traveling, there was going to be no way I could responsibly put my money on anything other than essentials.  Now, we have been collecting things for the boy for months, but it isn't much and since I'm trying to promote a minimalistic lifestyle (and he spends more time interacting with us than he does playing with toys anyway) he'll have a few small things to open at Christmas.  I think when you're 5 the experience is more about opening things than what you end up getting.

On crafting, I'm behind.  After a sudden tragedy in February, I couldn't even look at yarn for months.  I go through phases of excitement, but they burn too hot (I always injure my wrists) and too fast (I don't want to look at yarn for weeks at a time).  I have one project that is huge, and while I keep making progress on it, the progress is slow (it's thankfully gorgeous though and I hope it's future owner thinks it's worth the wait).  Most of my other projects are small, but with all the traveling and hectic stuff there's still only so much I can do.  I just didn't want to stress about it.

I don't like the obligation of gift giving, and after making the decision I wouldn't be participating I feel really positive about the holiday season.  I'm looking forward to spending time with our families and relaxing.

Will I accept presents?  Yes, of course.  Most of my friends and family are either in the same boat as me or have been duly warned.  But for those that decided they still wanted to put forth the effort to think of me and picked up something they think I would enjoy, it seems insulting to turn away their gifts.  Perhaps that seems selfish and contradictory, but you try turning someone's gift away and tell me how it works out for you. Personally, I plan on focusing more on offering gifts throughout the year.  They're unexpected and random and I think have longer lasting positive effects.

What did you decide to do for the "gifting" season?  Did you make a budget?  Did you stick to it?

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