Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Consider Conspiracy

Our Christmas is necessarily going to be smaller this year given that we still don't have a job. It's hard getting the kids to understand this, because every year we say, "Kids, we're not going to have as big of a Christmas this year." And then, we end up having a pretty big Christmas anyway.

So this year, as we're telling them we're not going to have as big of a Christmas, we're also telling them the dollar limit. Halle and Chloe understand that, and so it's sinking in a bit more that this year, we're TRULY going to have a smaller Christmas.

But as I was reading a post today, I was reminded of a similar post of mine a few years ago.

Read the links, folks. It only takes a minute.

Every year, we buy so much crap. I was just thinking today about whether we can afford stocking stuffers and what I would buy to fill stockings that wouldn't cost much. Candy, cheap dollar toys. And I realized tonight that all that stuff will be gone within a week, consumed or lost under the couch cushions. Cheap crap. Worth nothing.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not quite ready to go cold turkey on the gifts as the Voskamps have. But there's a real battle within me when I even begin to contemplate that. What if I didn't ask for anything for Christmas, but instead asked people to sponsor a child, or buy a goat for a family (wouldn't you know, a goat was on the main page), helped give people access to clean water?

And then, what if, instead of buying crap for my family, instead of spending a lot of money on stuff we don't need, why not bake some homemade pumpkin bread? Or sew a quilt? Or write a poem? Or make a photo collage (ok, we might have to spend a little money)?

And the impact is so far-reaching! We help the poor, truly love and help them. We improve our own lives by stepping back from the extreme consumerism that, well, consumes our country. We help out the environment as we're not pumping more trash into the system. When I don't buy the cheap stuff made in China, I help child laborers. We take the focus off ourselves and put it on others. Is there anything wrong with this?

Is there any reason NOT to give like this?

Other than my desire for stuff?

I don't like that question. But our necessarily smaller Christmas sure has me thinking about it.


andreajennine said...

We're having a necessarily smaller Christmas this year, too. Handmade gifts for extended family, and we've decided to make it a tradition for Aaron, Brandt and me to do a small set of gifts under the categories "want, need, wear, read." Even those four gifts will probably be small this year, like socks for the "wear" category. But I'm actually really excited about it!

Amy said...

Want, need, wear, read--I love it! What a great way to pare down and still give something meaningful to each other.

Anonymous said...

Growing up we also didn't have extra and so our Cmas tradition was similar. 3 gifts. Need, Want and a Surprise. It does make you think - thanks!