This year, I do not want anything for Christmas. And that is the truth! When I declared this to my husband, he looked at me as if I was leading him into some sort of trap or playing very cruel trick. He carefully calculated his response.
“Ooooo-kayyy…” he said doubtfully.
“No, I am serious,” I said. “I have everything I want and need.”
It is not surprising that my husband was skeptical. I have always loved receiving gifts, things, STUFF. At one point, receiving gifts was my primary love language. It wasn’t just the gift that I liked. It was the thought and effort behind the gift that I appreciated.
On my birthday and at Christmas, I would envision my husband walking through the aisles of a store, loving thoughts of me on his mind, carefully considering all my likes, what colors looked best on me, how I prefer dark chocolate over white, diamonds over cubic zirconia. This of course, was a romanticized reality. My husband hates shopping. He really does not like “things” or “stuff.” And birthdays and holidays had never been a big deal for him.
Birthdays and holidays have always been a big deal for me and the gifts have always been one of the best parts. Store bought gifts are nice. But I love hand-made crafts and things found out on a nature walk or a walk on the beach that my children hand to me. Someone once gave me a candy wrapper with a saying about friendship that I treasured. I know, lame! But I can’t help attach meanings or a memory to the gifts I am given, its just who I am. Or who I used to be?
What has changed this year in my gift receiving needs?
Me. Life. The state of the world. The fact that I have so much stuff I do not know what to do with while others in the world have nothing and are suffering daily. Awareness that consumerism is taking over minds and the true meaning of life.
I am realizing more and more that memories are not stored in things. Memories are stored in hearts and minds and in your soul. Gifts are all around you, every day. You just have to change your perspective to find and receive them.
Like the gifts of staying in your pajamas on a rainy day and starting homeschooling late. The gift of unexpectedly bumping into one of your best friends at the post office and receiving a huge, very needed hug. When your husband lets you sleep in late. Gift like laughter over a meal shared with friends. Gifts in the smiles on strangers faces in the long line at the grocery store. Gifts like seeing peace and joy permeate a heart.
Those are the kind of gifts that I want more of. Unexpected gifts and gifts that money cannot buy. Gifts that make me want to be a better person, friend, wife, and mom.
So this year, it’s the truth! I am embracing the true meaning of Christmas, with less gifts from the store and with a happier heart. And if my husband hands me a store bought Christmas gift, I will throw a tantrum, give him a lecture about not wanting anything, and demand that he return it immediately!
No, just kidding! I will gracefully and gratefully accept the gift, attach a memory and meaning to it and probably treasure it way more than I should. After thirteen years of marriage, I have learned you should never discourage good and thoughtful deeds. And besides, I am a work in progress! And I am okay with that!