My transition from cluttered to simple living.

Thursday, November 4, 2010


If I were to mention the word, "Christmas", would you think to yourself, "Already?"  Likely not.  Barely days after Thanksgiving, and Halloween, we are inundated with store displays and commercials heralding the coming of Christmas.  "Shop! Shop! Shop!" we are told... and before the Holy Day arrives we are exhausted by the consumerism.

What does Christmas mean to you?

I am not ashamed to say that I love Christmas.  I love the lights.    It is a dark time of year.  I need the lights and I need the colour.

I love that Thanksgiving, gives us a reason to gather as a family.  In the busy world we live in, we often need a reason to come together other than for weddings and funerals.

When my brother and I were little, Christmas morning was spent with our church family, remembering the reason that we were gathered that day.  I never tired of the story of the Three Wise Men and their journey to visit the Newborn King.  The gift giving always came last.  We looked forward to that.  We did not receive a lot and we appreciated what we did receive.  That brings me to what I hate about "Christmas Present."


We receive subtle and not so subtle messages via the media, that we must engage in the act of buying to make our recipients happy.  Bigger and more expensive seems to be the order of the day. "Consume!  Consume!  Consume!" we are told.  We drag ourselves through stores day after day,.  We fret over purchases.  I am sure that many of us think the words... "I have to....after all they buy for us."  Whatever happened to "I want to honour so and so with a gift from the heart?"  How many of us consider the amount waste that is produced on this day in particular, and for those who many of consider the huge carbon footprint that is left when our celebration is complete?  How many of us go into debt during this holiday?  What does all of this have to do with the reason behind the celebration?

I have decided to opt out this year.  Of course I will hang lights.  Of course I will give gifts, and of course I will gather with my family.  This year, however, I am scaling back.  I am making as many gifts as I can.  I am only giving gifts that are useful.  I refuse to step into a store.

Throughout the year, I have prepared.  I have bought clothing on sale, guessing the sizes of my family members months in advance.  (It is a risky business!)

More than anything else, I am opting out of the need to keep up with the "Jones."  I will celebrate Christmas in the way I once did when I was little and attempt again, to see the Celebration through the eyes of "little Wendy."  I will once again read the story of the Three Wise Men....and if I am not working, I plan on attending Midnight mass with my dad.

I would encourage you to put a lot of thought into this Christmas.  There is still time.  If you give gifts, then give gifts from the heart.  Make.  Bake.  Share.  Give of yourself.

As a parting note, I would like you to have a look at the Angel on my tree.  She has occupied this place of honour for the past 20 years.  My daughter made that angel and it has gifted us since she was five years old.  She turns 26 next week.  Thank you Mandy.  You and your brothers, your partners, my step kids and their partners, my partner, my parents and my friends...these are the greatest gifts of all.



  1. It's sad that Christmas was ever turned into a retail holiday. And look at Valentine's Day and Easter...sigh. We have what we refer to as the "Hallmark Holidays" and we do so because it seems that many of our holidays were designed and marketed to tell the loving family member/consumer that they must buy greeting cards. Ah, the greeting card thing, yet another discussion.

  2. You are so right Kim! But we don't have to be victims... We can opt out of consumerism.

    You are a talented quilt maker. I am sure that you have gifted many with your quilts. Wonderful!

  3. So true Mom, I hate the feeling of "oh they bought me something I better get them something" or "oh I only got them one gift, I better throw in something else". It is ridiculous. I personally think that Birthdays are a time for a small gift to celebrate your life, but Christmas should be like expectations but good food and good company.
    Jamie and I both don't want, or need anything this year...but a nice cup of tea a good conversation would be nice!!

    P.S. I love seeing the Angel each year, I am glad over the years and the moves, that she has never got lost!!

  4. To this post, I would have to give a resounding AMEN! So true about all the commercialism and nothing about the real meaning behind Christmas. Many of the things my family will receive will have come from the efforts of my hot little hands and the embroidery needle! Thankfully though, all three of 'em -even my son too -like those things so it's all good. Only the grandkids will get a few clothing items and maybe a book or two.

  5. I enjoyed hearing your Christmas memories. The angel your daughter made is so special. Our tree is always full of things that have special meaning or were given or made for us. I love seeing them again every year. I was amazed to hear that some people get completely new stuff for their trees every year. It has to be a certian color/theme etc!
    Glad your Christmas making is going well. Wish mine was!