Monday, December 5, 2011

Tis the Season to CHILL OUT(!) and Escape the Vortex of Materialism!

Lake George, New York as seen through my parents' window. 

   With out a doubt Christmas time is my favorite time of year. I love the snow, the lights, the cheer, the decorations, the time with family, the time for God, and the time for reflection. And I admit I have loved the presents…. preeeessssents… so many preeeessssents….. As a child the excitement of waiting for Santa and seeing what he brought me was probably the very best thing about Christmas.  Seeing as I was just a wee babe, this is understandable, but it’s also a tad pretty depressing.
    Sure, giving gifts is a sign of love, and it’s wonderful to recieive these gifts and to feel special. But why do we need to many gifts to feel good? Why such expensive gifts to feel special? When did we develop this sense of entitlement? How on earth did a gift-giving traditon, which was indended to honor the Magi presenting presents  to the poor and underprivileged baby Jesus, morph into this vortex of materialism? I mean sure, the little guy received some pretty snazzy gifts- gold, frankincense, myrrh- but you know his mommy probably had to sell them so the family could have food….
     Whether you celebrate Christmas as a religious remembrance or as a more general family holiday, I think it’s time we all reined ourselves in a little. Let’s hold our horses and take some steps out of the destructive path of insatiable consumerism. Let’s stretch ourselves through showing constraint. Let’s appreciate the little things, the acts of kindness, the acts of charity. Let’s spend less and have it mean more. Let’s resist the urge to give something, anything {like inexpensive sweatshop crap or overpriced indulgences} to absolutely everyone we know just become that’s what’s done this time of year. 
     Let’s realize it’s not a contest, but an opportunity – an opportunity to teach ourselves and our kids the virtues of giving to those who need it. It's an opportunity to demonstrate how to graciously receiving what we’re given. It’s an opportunity to direct our gifts to those who really need them and to celebrate love more while spending money less.
   This holiday season Kia and I will be posting fun low-key gifts, jolly party ideas, festive local shops, fair-trade options, and links to meaningful charities.  We hope you have fun, enjoy the process, and find ways to help others through your purchases and time. Remember, there is nothing historic, helpful, or holly jolly about going into debt for the sake of celebrating Christmas! Quite the opposite! 

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