I have this suspicion that very little of human communication is original. There seem to be “scripts” for a huge variety of situations, and they are odd individuals who deviate from the lines we know that are expected of us. No one really answers the passing “How are you?” Chatting with a stranger almost always leads to observations on the weather. And at Christmas time, the script tells us that we are to talk about how busy we are and how stressed the holidays make us.
Personally, I don’t get it, but then maybe I am one of those odd individuals. Even though I will be packing up a car with presents and kids and then driving 2,000 miles to celebrate Christmas in Colorado, we’re not stressed. Road trips are fun. Christmas morning with kids is fun. Blowing off work for a week and hanging out with family? More fun.
What about shopping?, you might ask. We’ve never been a family to overdo it on presents. When my daughter was three, she got a sleeping bag. We set up a tent in the family room and played the whole day. We’ve learned that we need to do a little more than that, but not much. Throw in a book and Frisbee, and as a five-year-old she’s ecstatic. Did I have to brave holiday traffic and crowds? Heck no. I got online before Thanksgiving, placed my orders and waited for the UPS guy. Generic gifts: Amazon. Personal gifts: Etsy. Vintage gifts: eBay.
That’s not to say that this is a “no brainer.” We’ve worked very hard to get to this place. Lean years, when we were too broke to buy presents, changed our understanding of what a happy Christmas requires. A purposeful attempt to avoid crowds led to my commitment to avoid the mall at all costs from Black Friday in January.
But at the center has been a desire to appreciate the season. We spread it out by celebrating Advent, not just Christmas. We try to find ways for our kids to give. And, you might have seen this coming, we try to spend time together… outside. (That’s the plug that ties my conversation to the mission of the site.)
So what’s all this have to do with my Christmas list? Everything. At the top of my list is “Time spent together as a family.” Then come other things like “Adventurous children” and “Memories that don’t need editing.” If I can keep those on my list, and work as hard at that as people did finding Tickle-Me Elmo back in the day, then it all seems to fall together nicely.
I hope to have more time to post over the holidays, but in case I don’t see you before, Merry Christmas! And a blessed New Year! (completely from the heart, unscripted).
I leave you with this thoughtful video from Advent Conspiracy:
(A thousand apologies for the title swiping from Amy Grant. But I saw my opportunity, and I took it.)