Sunday, December 07, 2008


I went out Christmas shopping the day after Thanksgiving with my Dad and my sister. She picked us up at 3:45 a.m. I was already awake with a crying kid anyway. I'm not really sure how the news media can report that we are in a recession. The lines were crazy long! People were in line outside, in the cold, in the dark, in Minnesota for hours.

I was kind of enjoying watching it all. I didn't buy anything. I didn't have any money to buy anything. Usually, when I am shopping and I don't have money (which seems to happen a lot) I feel so bummed about all the great stuff that is out there that I can't get. This year, I couldn't find one thing I wanted to buy. Nothing made me feel happy or excited or in the Christmas spirit at all. All I could think about was crazy people trying to buy as much as they could in as little time possible. I'm not sure some people were even looking at what they were dumping in their carts!

I was talking to a friend about the small Christmas budget we seem to have this year. And I realized that I'm not sad about it. I haven't spent one minute shopping (except for black Friday) or fretting about what to get people. I haven't been stressed or crabby. I haven't been running all over town. I've just been listening to Christmas music and hoping we can get our tree up this week.

I know some people who really hate Christmas and trying to think of things to buy for their adult siblings who need nothing and trying to find the money to pay for it. All they do is complain about it. It seems like we don't have to live that way. I think I can change things now and not waste 25 perfectly good Christmases by stressing over sweaters and gift cards.

There are always those moments when I start to feel bad or jealous though. When I hear about someone buying the latest gaming systems or fancy expensive dolls. But even if I had $10,000 extra dollars laying around I still don't think I'd do it. There are so many more important things going on around me. There are people who lost their jobs and can't buy groceries, marriages that are falling apart, people who are trying to celebrate Christmas without a loved one, friends whose kids are receiving treatment at facilities and may not be home for Christmas.

I can give some money to the Salvation Army, I can bake stuff for my neighbors, I can make crafts with my kids and I can forget stores and materialism and just enjoy Christmas.

Check out The Advent Conspiracy


Bonny said...

A couple of years ago, people were very - VERY - up in arms because the store cashiers started saying "happy holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas" after each transaction. And I didn't quite understand all of the hoopla, because spending hundreds of thousands of dollars each season on gifts didn't really have anything to do with what I considered to be a "Merry Christmas" anyways!

Joel and Jenn said...

I can really relate to how you are feeling this Christmas. I even asked my mom and sister to do my shopping for me this year... and they are.
One idea I found through a link on the advent conspiracy website was about how to make Christmas meaningful. It had two rules: 1.Everyone brings one gift that has to be for everyone attending the get together
2. Every gift has to be opened and used, consumed, or experienced on that day
For example the lady shared how one person brought a catchphrase game and everyone played for a while. Then they opened cinnamon rolls that someone brought and everyone sat down and ate them with coffee, etc. Then someone else brought finger paints so everyone joined in on being creative.
Now - we are going to try our own version of this where each family is going to bring a surprise "gift" on my side of the family. On Joel's side we decided to do this unannounced. We just showed up last weekend and said "We brought two gifts - and everyone must do them today." It actually turned out very well and we got to spend time doing some fun things with our nieces and nephews who we don't see that often.
Sorry to go on and on...
Merry Christmas!
Good luck on getting your tree up. We actually put it on the calender for 4 pm today!

Wayne Pederson said...


That 5 a.m. shopping trip was worth it just for the memories of watching the crazed people lined-up at 4:30 a.m. to get a bargain. It's like guys who go hunting. You may not get your deer, but it's the experience that counts.