December 11, 2007

Less Really Is More

What started as a wish has become a reality for my family. For the longest time I have wanted to get us out of the "craziness" that goes along with Christmas and I am happy to say we have succeeded. Hearing other people talk about their "to do" lists makes me tired just simply hearing about them. I can't even imagine what it is like to actually "do" all those things.

I was so tired of seeing the continual stream of commercials touting the latest "must have" gadget ~ not to mention the commercials where a car is wrapped up in a big red bow (are you kidding me? do people really do this?) Or how about the commercials that leave the impression if you really LOVED your wife she would have sparkling diamonds under the tree. If you notice, in these commercials there is always beautiful snow falling along with beautiful shining lights and beautiful people smiling merrily. Everybody is always happy and the reason we are led to believe is that because they have been gifted with the latest "must have" treasure. What these commercials are conveying to us is that if we don't give and receive these wonderful gifts then our Christmas will just not be complete. Have you noticed that in these commercials they never have "normal" looking people, they are always a size two, no wrinkles, and long flowing hair. It is also always snowing when in reality that is really not the case in many parts of our country. You see, it is all just an "illusion" plain and simple. It is making us believe that this is the way it needs to be and since most of us can't measure up or don't experience these things then we start to feel like we have failed or that something is missing. We begin to wonder why our Christmas can't be like that.

I don't know about you, but whenever I'm out and about and I run into an acquaintance or even a store clerk the first question is always "have you finished your shopping yet?" They then proceed to tell you about everything they have to do, haven't bought, etc.. Do you see what I mean, y'all? Things have gotten so out of control, priorities are so out of whack, and the true meaning of Christmas has gotten so lost.

It is because of all the above that we made a concious decision to simplify and focus on the true meaning of the season. We now buy very few gifts and focus more on the gift of time with one another. Instead of spending a lot of money on more toys, that money is given to help those who have little. Instead of spending money on extravegent outings we looked online at various community festivities that were inexpensive or free. From that list we picked very carefully the things we thought looked like fun and will participate in them.

Honestly, my favorite thing to do is just to be at home with my family enjoying the tree along with their wonderful company. A Christmas movie, a fun game, enjoying Christmas music are all activities that can be enjoyed together at home. A meal made at home can be far more delicous and inexpensive than going out and spending a fortune on overcooked and overpriced food. Another plus is that you get to avoid all of those crowds, something that I am not fond of at all!

How about bringing joy to a lonely shut-in by going Christmas carolling and brightening their holiday? The nursing homes are filled with sad and lonely people that would so appreciate a visit. A kind word would mean far more than any expensive gift. Also, there are people who have suffered great losses this past year. It is important that we remember these people with a note, a visit, a prayer. The holiday season will be especially painful for them.

Less truly is more. More TIME, more JOY, more PEACE, and most importantly, MORE MEANING. When you start to ponder it all, you have to remember WHY it is we are celebrating to begin with. The birth of our Savior certainly wasn't in a palace made of gold, but in a humble stable. I think that should tell us all something. After all, wasn't he the greatest gift of all?


Anonymous said...

Amen!! You are so right. Thanks for this post. Just what I needed to hear....

Katie said...

Great post!! Thanks for the encouragement and challenge...


Pam said...

Susan - I loved this post! I'm not sure if I've left a comment for you before, but I read all of your posts (I'm Jodi's sister from the Deputy Domain). I love your blog.

LBP said...

What a great post! We have cut back on our buying this year as well.


Judy said...

Susan--beautifully written. I think the consumerism and commercialism we see today is a sign that people are desperately yearning for something that satisfies. If only they could realize that it comes from peace and contentment within and no amount of spending will help for long. I recently found your blog and am enjoying it tremendously. I have saved you in my favorites.

Mindy said...

Beautifully stated!! I heartily agree with you Susan! As always....some heartfelt words of encouragement for all of us to ponder and apply to our lives!!
Bless you my friend,

Kelli said...

What a wonderful post, Susan! I started to get caught up in the lists and stress of gift buying, but remembered that this time of year is supposed to be enjoyed! I'm making homemade gifts from the kitchen this year (for extended family) since that's what I enjoy and people seem to enjoy receiving them. It's a lot more fun that shopping for hours on end! LOL

Mimi said...

This is a great post... and a wonderful reminder for us to focus on the Reason for the Season and not get carried away with "Who gets or gives the biggest gift"1
Thanks for the reminder!!

Jackie said...

Wonderful post. So far I have managed to keep out of the stores this year. I am making most of my gifts and those that are bought have been bought well before now. I want to be able to spend more time with my family.

Karen said...

Oh Susan, such a fitting post for this time of year. Unfortunately, our circumstances have "forced" us to slow down, and in retrospect, it is probably a good thing. I'm with you, crowds do me in, and we've simplified over the years, as well. This year will be very hard as Daddy loved Christmas. He will be missed so much. I think we'll just rest at the foot of the cross, and remember what we're *really* celebrating.
Blessings and big hugs, my friend,