By Kelly Hobbs
Few of us can say we aren’t guilty of it; over-shopping, over-spending, over-doing. We have lists a mile long; wish lists, gift lists, grocery lists, Christmas card lists, to-do lists…the list goes on and on. All I can think is “Ughh”, as I recount the verbal wish lists from my children this holiday season. The irony is not wasted on me that this groan of distress sounds much like the name of the alarmingly popular, pricey, fuzzy boots that top many young girls’ wish list again this year.
To quote one young list maker, “I only want one gift this year, an iPhone 6”. Wow, that’s “only” a few hundred dollars and such a short list (insert sarcastic snarl here). Great! I don’t blame the kids, after all, we are a society drowning in discontent, waiting for the next best thing, the latest, the greatest, the hottest. There just never seems to be enough.
I don’t claim by any stretch of the imagination to be guiltless in this situation; I always have a “wish list” for any family member who might ask, I have been known to circle an item or two in a catalog (maybe even tear the page out and tape it to the refrigerator door…). And, I’m not trying to be the ugly green guy who stole Christmas from the land of Suzy Who, so don’t get your tinsel in a tangle, but really people, where’s it going to stop?
This is the year I have decided enough is enough!! This is the year we are going to stop getting wrapped up in the holidays. We are scaling it back, we are remembering the reason. I am going to only send 50 cards out, instead of 100. We are making two types of Christmas cookies, instead of ten. A tree, a wreath and a few lights on the bushes…that should do it. Not going overboard, not spending too much. Yep, we’ve all said it before, right? But what if we actually did it ? I presented my husband with a novel idea this year; what if we spent 75% less on gifts this year ? We could even put our savings in the bank towards a big family trip, or make a nice donation to a charity instead of buying all of those gifts. His response surprised me; “you can’t buy much for that amount”, he said. Exactly!
When I think of all of the gifts that surround us every day that we take for granted, and look at what the holiday season has become, I just want to hit the pause button on the grand DVR of life. I want to slow us all down, force us to reflect, find the real meaning in it all. 1) Faith, 2) family and 3) friends are the list I’m talking about.
This year I propose we all take a minute to make one more list. A list of what we would really give our loved ones, if we could give them “just one gift”. Would it be health for a loved one with a chronic illness? Peace for a family member who always seems to be disgruntled ? Courage for that shy child who is just trying to keep up with the class? If I could give my children just one gift, it would be the gift of contentment. The ability to find joy in the moment and be truly happy with the gifts that surround them – the knowledge that enough really is enough. What’s on your list ?