A Quick Guide to My Favorite Season


Posted on : 10:26 AM | By : Anonymous | In : , ,

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. - Dr. Seuss

We always start our Christmas season on December 1st.  It's when we start decorating, planning gifts and making plans because we love the Christmas season. But, it's not the buying stuff and presents.  We love decorating the house with lights and evergreens, and we love finding things to do such as Christmas walks at local gardens, caroling, parades, apple cider and games.  Here's a quick guide to celebrating Christmas the opposite of the way that companies want you to. 

1. Check out the website Buy Nothing Christmas, which has tons of resources and also has a PDF guide as to why and how.

2. Read How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson, A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, and the Christmas story from Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder.  

3.  Put out a nativity set that is child-friendly.  Even if you are not religious, use the nativity as a happy and beautiful Christmas myth just as you would Santa Claus.  You could even make your own out of paper mache or felt (like those little gnomes people make).  Look on Etsy for handmade ones or be creative.  To make felt people, simply get some wooden peg-people, wool felt in a variety of colors, embroidery floss, glue (a hot glue gun would work well), and perhaps some wire or other materials for accessories.   Some simple instructions are at Squirrel Acorns. That blog has a variety of crafts that are awesome.

4.  Let your family know that you don't want stuff for Christmas.  The way we are doing this is to create a nice family newsletter at the very beginning of December, hopefully before they've gone shopping.  Tell them that you love them and their love is enough.  :)  Tell them some appropriate substitutions.

5.  Create Christmas traditions.  Besides the decorating tradition, we also play games.  On Christmas eve we have usually had a white elephant gift exchange.  The limit is $5 and it has to be the funniest thing you could find.  This is the one time we support strange Chinese products from the dollar store.  Last year we found something called Swinging Baby Toy.  It was a horrifying plastic handle with a swinging knob on the end and poorly translated instructions on how much the baby would enjoy swinging it around.  We also eat appetizers and play board games until late at night so we sleep in Christmas day.  On Christmas day one person wears the Santa hat and we look in stockings first, slowly, and then hand out the presents one at a time to keep the pace appreciative. 

6.  Gifts have always been a part of Yule and Christmas, and it's a fun thing to do.  Consumerism hasn't always been a part of it and is quite different.  There are a few items we are buying the girls that can't be handmade - for example Playmobile, books and art supplies.  But 3-4 quality gifts each is enough.  Don't be afraid of used items - I may also find some more dress-up at the thrift stores to give as a group gift to the girls, and I'm asking family for used baby clothes rather than one brand new item that he/she will wear once.

7.  Give people opportunities to turn off their television.  The same ideas that apply for TV Turn Off week also apply to Christmas.  Give certificates, services, adventures, books, crafts - things that replace TV-time.  

8.  Most importantly, give to your community and to the world.  Donate to the food bank, World Vision, the Red Cross - whoever you support.  Our goal is to equal our donations to our gift giving to ourselves and family.  Because it's not fair if we play favorites - isn't the world our family too?

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