Yesterday, my brother was telling me about a project he and my 11 year old niece came up with. They are spending time together making polar fleece scarves and offering them as a thank you to anyone who wishes to make a donation to the Salvation Army. What a great father – daughter undertaking at this time of year. He went on to tell me that instead of a gift exchange, his children had all agreed to a have a "good – deed exchange". Instead of supporting mass commercialism, they would give of their time and energies to help each other, or folks in need. Okay, now that really speaks to me about what this season is supposed to be about.
His family is not alone. I have another close friend that instead of a gift exchange their family has decided to have one big family party. The adults are having a potluck supper and enjoying each others company with out anyone feeling the burden of "cooking and hosting" the traditional meal. The children are painting T-shirts together as a remembrance of family and the holidays. The holiday money is being used to finance a family trip to be together.
These two families reminded me that we don’t have to keep up with old traditions, we can make our own meaningful new ones. They challenge our thinking: do you really need MORE "stuff"? Maybe some nice time together is really what your children are aching for.
I am not sure I can do away with being a gift giver that quickly, but I have decide that I’d rather put my money towards experiences we can all enjoy together: Theatre tickets, A family pass on a ski hill, that sort of thing.
Just a thought you might want to noodle around too.