each of us has a series of pictures we'd like to see come true, when we think of the perfect christmas. yet we realize that we will never have the "perfect" christmas. the christmas story comes to mind. :) in the end, we will make the best of it and try not to miss the glow completely. however, if we sit down and decide right now what we want our season to look like…set some goals and make a plan…well then maybe we can make some progress toward a truly lovely celebration of the gift that changed everything!
since i started thinking about simplifying, christmas has shifted in my mind. i truly want to focus on finding the joy of Christ's birth and basking in its glow as much as possible during this entire season. with gifts finding their proper place as a small part of that celebration, i can focus on how we can find Jesus in all the chaos. have i spent more time thinking about cookies and parties, decorations and advent calendars, gifts and more gifts, card and recipes…than of my dear Savior's birth. y. e. s.
we've been giving a bit of gift inspiration here this week and it makes me think about how i want to address the gift giving and requesting part of our christmas celebration this year. we do pretty well around here not wanting a lot of extra things. this may be in part because we don't have tv and have stopped going to the mall just to hang out for the most part. we talk about having less and its benefits. we have a smallish house that looks cluttered quickly. we try to make good food and exciting events our occasional treats.
and then christmas! anticipating gifts is a huge part of the fun! we start to wonder what we could ask for. we come up with some things that we've liked, but haven't bought for ourselves. we look at lists others have made on the internet. we want a big reaction to what we get and give. i've heard this "less" message over and over. the hard part is actually getting my own mind wrapped around the idea of less and the thought of enjoying that fully.
bea and her family rented out their gorgeous home in gorgeous mill valley and used the money they made taking a trip to hawaii last year. she and her husband give their boys a years worth of experiences- one thing each month that they haven't done before. some experiences cost money, others are free. i think this is spectacular! however, we don't live in an exciting place…so don't think we'd make much vacation money on house rental. :) maybe someday we can afford a sunny, warm vacation though!
gifts of experiences are wonderful to look forward to, and we have been embracing them! we've gone to the ballet, symphony, ice-skating, concerts, and hockey games as gifts. those gifts will not be forgotten.
what i like to do for material gifts is to find something that my recipient could use and would really like, but probably won't buy themselves...one or two really lovely gifts...not necessarily big or expensive gifts. i also like to give consumables. i want to find something that will become used every day and loved. i want it to fit into this guideline:
"[as minimalists,] all of our things are our favorite things. otherwise, they are in the way." the minimalists
this might mean replacing a well-loved item that is worn out or updating something seemingly mundane (like bedding, winter coat, kitchen pot, pillow) with something that will be appreciated with every use. this item may not have the wow factor at the moment, but the joy of it will be felt day after day rather than being forgotten. for younger children, i loved finding that thing that they really loved playing with and adding a small piece to it. jo loved playmobil, and just getting a small new box made all the rest new again! julia loved schleich and the same principle applied. books, journals and art supplies have been recurring gifts as well. as the girls get older and don't read the same book over and over quite as much, we are relying on the library more and more. we realize in every day life that a much smaller collection of things we love is better than a bigger collection of things we like. i want christmas gifting to be an extension of our real life.
this is why we are bringing you gift ideas of things we use and appreciate every day. i realize this is an odd blogging idea- usually you see the newest, most unique idea one can come up with (i like those too). but we thought it'd be nice to see some time tested things we love, some we've had for years. we 'd love to hear about some of your most loved items! they'd make great gifts... and being thankful for what we have is just the best way to start this season!!