'tis the season

Every year at Christmas, I struggle with giving in and going all out, like when I was a kid. Spending hours upon hours at the mall to purchase gifts for friends and family. But in recent years, I've come to realize that the hours spent at the mall and the hours wrapping gifts do not equal happiness for me. In fact, I often felt guilty. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing I love more than to stumble upon that perfect gift for that special someone. But finding the balance is what I've been searching for.

A few years ago, Rob and I started making donations in place of the money we would have spent on purchasing massive amounts of gifts. We still buy a gift for our immediate family members, however the pressure to buy and buy for family and even friends has been relieved. We don't {or I don't} design cute Christmas cards, we buy Christmas cards from a non-profit organization, usually benefiting children or special needs children. Perhaps when we start a family, a cute family photo will be added to the mix :)

To us, the season is not about the shopping, the gifts, the cards, or the decor {I will note that decorating is my favorite part though}, but it's about giving to those who don't have what we have and celebrating that Christmas is actually about the birth of our Lord and Savior. It's also about taking time out each day to do something together and/or with others {pictures of our Advent calendar to come}. With the limited amount of time that Rob and I already have, or don't have, if we were to spend that precious time shopping, we wouldn't be able to celebrate the season together.

So far this season we've:
- crafted with Emily
- purchased our Christmas tree and decorated our home with Joel
- went to the Christmas parade with Matt
- went to a friend's Christmas concert
- traveled to Redland's for one of Rob's Christmas concert
- celebrated the "holidays" with my school co-workers
- sang Christmas carols to the elderly at our church who can no longer come to church
- been to Irvine for another Christmas concert for Rob

And according to our Advent calendar, we still:
- need to sign, seal, and deliver our Christmas cards {even some Hanukkah cards}
- need to finish shopping for our family
- have one more Christmas concert for Rob's school
- will attend the annual AMA Christmas party, hosted by the lovely Jolene and her hubby Gerric
- will host dinner for the Tuckers on Christmas Eve
- spend time with Gabe & Mimi {both on Christmas day and at their Holiday Open House party}

When December arrived, I was concerned that we wouldn't have many festivities to attend to, turns out this season has been more festive than previous years. So far, the highlight was definitely yesterday as we sang to our elderly church members. The joy in their smiles as they sang their favorite Christmas carols was priceless.

If you have just over two minutes, check out this You Tube video on the Christmas season, it's great!


R said...

You know, when you take out the pressure of "gifts" you can really enjoy the season as it unfolds around you. I think the best part of Christmas and the holidays is the people I spend them with.

wan-nabe said...

we made "no gifts" pacts with most of the folks we usually buy for this year, and it's really made the holiday season so much more enjoyable for us. of course, a big part of it was economy-related, but we're loving it so much that we may just have to make it a yearly thing.

That Girl said...

You're so much better than we are. I tried to talk the hubs into no gifts and it was a huge fiasco fight.

Winnie said...

We only do presents for the immediate family. Waaaaay easier than most people have it :)