Even before I began to trim down my Stuff in earnest, I had been uncomfortable with how my material possessions gained a non-trivial increase in number at Christmas time. Having been fairly well-off financially as an adult, I had become used to simply buying something if I wanted it or needed it.
So, gift lists had by and large become exercises in scraping the bottom of the barrel of things I had considered acquiring but never considered important enough to invest my own money in.
Luckily, the religious overtones of my family’s Christmas celebrations were passing at best. In fact, the celebrations were a pretty classic product of the invention of the modern American Christmas from the 40s and 50s. Christmas was a time for showing your family’s prosperity, of celebrating consumerist excess, and showing the mean old Great Depression and Hitler’s ghost that you were no longer in their grip.
You showed someone (especially children) how much you loved them by how many toys you could buy them.
Needless to say, I don’t agree with that mindset at all.
At this point in my life I’d much rather spend time with family I haven’t seen as much as I’d like this past year, enjoy the good food and drink that often doesn’t make an appearance at any other time, and go along with the general leisure the accompanies the holiday season.
Why should anything else be necessary?
I began this post thinking I would touch on many points about the inability of a ton of presents to make us happy, but my Partner already did a better job of that than I could do (with pictures too!). Be sure to read her recent blog post as a companion to this one: http://elizebethjoy.tumblr.com/post/12797395887/the-power-of-presents