|The tree at my parents' home|
|Bracelet from Aine|
|Modeling her new ensemble (and yes, I should have alternated skeins, but I didn't realize until I was inches from binding off. My friend suggested calling it an ombre effect)|
Several years ago we decided that Christmas didn't really fit with our core values. It was a whole lot of excess and often led to feelings of sadness, disappointment and a sense of being overwhelmed. The kiddos would want to play, but still had presents to open. They wanted things that didn't appear. It was just too much. We decided to change our approach. We continue to give one joint Santa gift to the kiddos. We then give them one other main gift apiece. There are a few smaller gifts like art paper, colored pencils or pens and a new electric toothbrush, but that is it. Of course, there are plenty of other gifts from family, but even there we have asked for gifts of time instead.
Since deciding to really downsize our holiday celebrations, I suffer from doubt. Every time I open my inbox or turn on the radio, I hear about sales and buying and more and more stuff. This year I held my ground until just before Christmas. I was out running errands when I had to call Dave to talk me down while standing inside a Toys-r-Us. I left empty handed. Our little family doesn't need anything, but I was worried. My kiddos made lists, and the gifts we had for them did not appear on those sheets of paper.
I should not have worried. This Christmas was wonderful. Although the gifts were not those on the kiddos' lists, they were picked just for them and oh so perfect. Eamon received a new bike/skateboard helmet, Aine found herself clad in a full pink ensemble complete with a new mama made poncho, and Benton has a new scooter. The gifts from others hit the mark too as a carnivorous plant kit made its way into our home as well as some black sparkly shoes. The biggest gift was from Santa. The kiddos found three new sleds and snow gloves until the tree. Santa had arranged for our sunshiny Arizona family to spend three nights in a "Winter Wonderland" up north. Everyone was so excited!
The snow was thrown, molded, stored, and eaten. The kiddos fashioned a snow mama one day. It even had oak leaf hair at one point. This collaborative effort stood near the swing the whole time we were there. Over the days new hair was added as well as a nose job, going from carrot to icicle. She was able even to withstand attempts at toppling by a certain four year old.