Sunday, December 26, 2010

My kids, Christmas, and not keeping up with the Jones's

Yep, they're getting older.....I've noticed through the years that the gifts under the tree each Christmas have become smaller and smaller (although they are more and more expensive!). The kids appreciate how hard Rich and I work and the gifts they do receive, yet they understand the meaning of Christmas.

It is interesting to me, especially because we live in a bit of a "bubble" that both kids enjoy the very simple things we do together as a family. We do not take elaborate vacations, and we have all but stopped dragging them through our own agendas. They don't require tons of entertainment. They actually enjoy talking, taking walks on the beach or on a nearby trail, playing board games (I won at Clue last night, woohoo!), and more simple fun activities like bowling and miniature golfing. They have been exposed to art and music, but not in a super formal way. Despite this, they are both very artistic and musical. We have started a new tradition of eating Christmas Eve dinner at a fun, authentic English pub. The restaurant is all decked for Christmas and the food is simple and unique. There are British roots on both sides of the family, and I think we just get a little more in touch when we eat there! Once in a while I serve afternoon tea at home, which everyone loves.

The kids do at times receive gifts that might be considered excessive, such as a new computer. Those gifts are greatly appreciated, and often dearly wished for. But I don't need designer clothing and all the decorating I do is very budget-friendly and/or DIY. Personally, I like the challenge of designing something for half of what most people would pay and dressing well on so much less of what most women spend (hint here: it is all about the accessories!).

We only have one television and this is basically unheard of where we live. It just means we need to share. Personally, I like that the kids do not have their own TV and I am nearly always aware of what they are watching or which games they are playing. Perhaps that makes me seem strict or boring, but everyone is okay with that because this is the way it has been.

Oddly enough, despite our lifestyle, I often feel a need to live even more simply. I have been thinking about this as we move into yet another year and as we prepare to launch our eldest son in another 18 months or so, which hopefully will include college.

So these are my ramblings in this culture of excess. Even with the hurting economy, the excess is just everywhere. And I am not saying I have been immune, no. Just feeling that the Reason for the Season is not there for so many and that even those who are believers can get too caught up in all the extravagence, excess, and waste even with the best of intentions.

Just a closing thought:

"The secret of happiness is not found in seeking more, but in developing the capacity to enjoy less (SOCRATES)."

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