This article is a part of the Carnival of Natural Mothering hosted by GrowingSlower, Every Breath I Take, I Thought I Knew Mama, African Babies Don't Cry, and Adventures of Captain Destructo. This month's topic is Incorporating Natural Into the Holidays. Be sure to check out all of the participants' posts through the links at the bottom of this page.
I watched some programmes on television recently, if you are thinking and? Bear with me! A TV has never been a feature in my life, the adverts were loud, fast paced and insidious when you hear talk of something but don't experience it yourself it is easy to forget what it is really like. When I hear folks lamenting the cost of buying presents for their children I often think why do you need to spend so much, having watched those adverts recently I am reminded why. I have heard advertising companies talk of pester power and tapping into markets, it is unbelievable the lengths some companies will go to to get their products bought.
I well remember returning to school after the Christmas holidays, hearing people talk about what they had been given, I was always shocked at the volume. This kind of present giving has emerged in my extended family since I have married and my siblings have too. Every family has their own traditions for celebrating Christmas, I have been struggling over the last few years to find my own family traditions ones that will work for us and extended family. Buying lots of presents for the children because they are not seen very often is a poor excuse, I would rather the visits were more often. The excess was starting to get to me, the volume was overwhelming for me and we live in a small house it has all got to go somewhere.
Last year I felt I needed to get a handle on presents before it spiralled out of control. It was frustrating to be told, when giving present ideas, is that all? Yes it is that is all we want and need. But it is starting to work. When we give one small idea that is all we want to be given, one small heartfelt present is far better then many unwanted gifts. Gift giving and receiving is not, for me, about replacement for time or love or whatever is missing. It is about giving a gift that you truly believe the recipient will love and treasure regardless of the size or cost.
Another change I made last year was to remove the myth of Father Christmas from our house. In the past they have had a few small presents, four or five, from this mythical man and one larger one from us. We wanted to continue to give a larger gift but I also wanted to make some small presents for the children. They are still given four small gifts using the idea, which I cannot remember where I read about, of something they want, something they need, something to wear, something to read. I was concerned, when I bought in this change, that my eldest would be most bothered. Neither of my children were in the least bit troubled by this change they still received presents and they loved the fact that I had made them things without them knowing. This is no mean feat in our house as we home educate and the children go to bed fairly late, I am with them most of the time.
I feel much calmer about Christmas this year. I have made many presents to give already and I have started to think about ideas for gifts that others could buy for us. We are spending Christmas at home this year which makes it easier as all presents have to be posted which by necessity makes them small, next year we will spend with extended family so it remains to be seen whether I am as calm next year!
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