”We had Christmas gifts laying around all over the house at home!”, I overheard my teen say the day before Christmas Eve (which is the day for Swedish celebrations and gift-giving).
You see, I had two minuscule piles of Christmas gifts laying about the house, three gifts to bring with us to my mother’s place – where we celebrated Christmas yesterday, all in all 6 adults, a teen, a tween and a darling little 4-month old bonus grandchild – and two to bring for the other bonus grandchildren, for the second celebration, due tomorrow.
They did get a few more gifts, the kids, but those were mostly experiences, and each and everyone was appreciated by them.
And yes, this has been a very deliberate process, to reduce the amount of Christmas gifts, and to only give to the kids. For the money we are not spending on gifts for each and every one, each family also donates to a charity of our own choosing (Médecins sans frontiers and Refugees Welcome to Malmö were our choices).
So you bet it made me happy to hear her comment of those few gifts being ”all over”. It’s easy to go overboard with gifts. And we’ve – I’ve – been there. My entire childhood was loaded with gifts, and also when my children were small. But then we actually thought it through and talked with the others we spent Christmas with and agreed to rather pool our gift giving for the kids, so they could get something really nice from all of us (rather than smaller things from every family), and to stop giving to adults, instead donating to charities.
As we are all participating – more or less – in perpetuating the Story of Stuff, this has been one of the ways me and my family try to re-write our version of this story. It has made Christmas a richer experience for me, in so many ways, and I rejoice in the feeling!
Wishing you and your loved ones a very merry Christmas!