So we’re all aware of the commercialisation of Christmas and the obscene amounts of money spent by many people (in the west at least) at this crazy time of year. How many of us manage to evoke Christmas spirit through the means of focusing on family, love and copious amounts of food without being judged by others to be a Christmas grinch? That’s what I was recently accused of when I chose to donate to charity instead of buying Christmas cards this year. Really? THAT’S the definition of a Christmas grinch? The fact that I decided to give to the vulnerable instead of buying pointless items that will only be thrown away (like most things these days) in a fortnight?
I am not religious. I celebrate Christmas for the Santa/snowmen/magical/fake elements that always gave me that insane sense of excitement as a child. Don’t get me wrong; one of my best memories frantically ripping open my presents on the Big Day but I know for a fact that my mom had to scrimp and save for those presents, and that many of them were second-hand (bless, I never questioned why they weren’t in their original boxes). Therefore, when my girls grow up I’ll want to give them that same special feeling, and those wonderful memories.
But – and there is a major BUT here – I want to raise my kids with what I consider to be the right kind of values. Values such as being grateful for what we have, especially compared to the many unfortunate people in this world whose luck meant they were simply born somewhere else. Values such as being charitable to those same people. Values such as working hard to achieve your goals (the Hubs and I have already decided that pocket money will be linked to behaviour and chores). Values such as the importance of family (I come from a “broken home” where many of us don’t speak to one another and I’d hate that for my girls). Values such as delayed gratification (yes darling, I know you really want X but you’ll have to wait and see what Santa brings you).
So with the twins being currently only 18 months old and Christmas being tomorrow (already?), we’ve decided not to buy them any presents this year. They have absolutely no concept of it, and I know for a fact they’d be more interested in the wrapping paper than they would be in what’s inside. And at such a young age, they already have everything they need.
When I think of the children in this world born into poverty, famine, war and abuse, my heart aches for them. My girls are so lucky to have been born into a loving family and to have all the basic necessities and more. When I wake up tomorrow morning, I will go into the nursery and hug them close, but I won’t be showering them with gifts.