The Holiday Season

Personally, I love the holiday season. It's family and faith, mixed in with snow and a little bit of childhood magic. I love giving gifts and baking for people. I love all the Christmas hymns in church. And I love a simple Christmas morning with my family. We drink coffee, listen to Christmas music and watch as each person opens presents. We take time to thank each other, pass gifts around and model gifts of clothing.

I've always felt grateful that the focus of our holidays and birthdays was not on expensive, over-the-top gifts. Our gifts were always given with love and thoughtfulness, and many times were homemade. And I remember always being very happy and grateful after holidays and birthdays.

But I know that often it feels like this holiday is all about shopping . . . buying . . . stressing. I read a post today by a blogger that set a nice tone for the season. Here's part of it:

On Friday morning, a 34-year-old Wal-Mart employee was trampled to death as a mob of shoppers broke down the door to the store to get a jump on their holiday shopping. Hundreds of people stepped on another human being's body in order to save some money on gifts that may be forgotten within a few days or months of being given . . .

But I'm wondering. I'm just wondering what this all means. What does it say about joy and festivity and generosity and our economy and humanity? What does it mean when people just buy things because they're there -- just because they can -- or that a man can be stepped on by hundreds of people without their noticing?

I don't know what the answer is. It's more complicated than one -- or many -- mothers saying, "buy less, do more" through the voices of blogs. But we could start there. We could start with our own homes, and on our own websites, and we could buy less. We could commit to handmade gifts, or we could just commit to simplifying one aspect of the holiday. We could pause before buying something and just ask if we really want it, or if the recipient will like and use it. I'm not calling for a "hard times" Christmas. But I really do think -- I really do believe -- that simple can truly be just as wonderful and magical as elaborate, and that a few carefully-chosen gifts can be much better than stacks of packages to open just for the sake of opening them.

You can read the entire post here.

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