This is not just because things are rather crowded up there on top of the stereo!
In future years, we hope to buy a family gift. Next year, maybe a tent. Then we will head off camping together. But this year, money is tight and Munchy doesn't know any different. He's got more than enough toys to last him till his birthday at any rate! We can read some of his books together, roll around on the lawn and tickle each other, and eat jam on bread. He will be one happy camper. He doesn't need more than that.
Now, I don't want you thinking that we are depriving our child of the wonder and anticipation of Christmas. I want Munchkin to feel excited, and anticipate Christmas with great joy once he is old enough to get it all! We have traditions, and fun, and celebration. We're just trying to avoid too much commercial hype, plastic junk, and an attitude of me-me-me. Christmas is about giving. Not getting. It's about family, not just festivities. It's about being grateful and being blessed.
We do have stockings. Well, Munchkin has some fabric. I haven't quite gotten to the 'make it' stage just yet. But I will in time for next year, I promise. Mine and Boyo's hang under our tree. They are empty. We were going to put something in them, but decided fruit and veges were probably more important.
I've thought a bit over the past week about how much we all spend at Christmas. It is so nice to have that special family meal, open gifts together, and 'feel the love.' But then when things are tight, it feels like we are a bit deprived.
Now, how on earth have I ended up feeling deprived?
I don't lack a single thing in my life!
But there's something about Christmas that screams cheeries, Christmas mince pies, ham, and chocolates! So I find myself wondering, isn't it possible to have a special family meal without it costing us $50!? We've opted out of ham this year. Too expensive. Instead, I got us some pork spare ribs. A real treat as we don't usually have them. We're going to eat them for Christmas Dinner (evening meal) with new baby potatoes (and a large dollop of butter on my part!) and corn cobs. We will follow this with trifle...my husband's Christmas Day tradition of choice. Lunch will be pancakes with lemon juice and sugar and maybe a bit of icecream (Boyo thinks there may still be some lurking in the freezer).
BUT, on Christmas Day, there will be gifts under our tree. Just not for us. Every year for the past few years I've participated in Operation Christmas Child. It is now our family tradition to start our boxes for next year on Christmas Day. We haul out the rolls of Christmas wrapping paper, the shoeboxes, sellotape and sizzors and spend a few minutes as a family wrapping some boxes. We've already done our Christmas shopping, and came away with three small gifts to start our boxes off (they usually end up with about 6-7 small gifts in each by the time we are done in October next year).
I just finished watching this GORGEOUS clip by Toby Mac about Operation Christmas Child. I admit it, I cried. And remembered again just why I do this mad shoebox thing every year. There's something about gift giving that fills the soul. Then there's gift giving to someone who really NEEDS the gift. It is magical. Special. Amazing. And for a gift-giver like me, intoxicatingly addictive. I love it! I get to give gifts that are really, truly needed and wanted to kids who have NEVER received a gift in their lives before. I get to buy lots of cute little things and carefully stack them in a box I have wrapped myself.
Come join us on Christmas afternoon for some decadent Christmas Cake if you're in the neighbourhood (chocolate and fruit - mmm, yummy)! We'll be here, cake, shoeboxes, and smiles.