simple giving + celebrating

art bs sweater markers mug

I nearly forgot to share all the handmade goodness that we gave and received at Christmas.

The Bee gave lots of art, and her shopping all took place at a little fundraising second-hand sale at school.  She couldn’t have spent more than $6.

The teen made funny and heart-warming cards written with love for everyone.

I knit a hat for the mister, a cowl and socks for the teen and a sweater for the Bee.   The Bee and I went in on some dolla-store mugs and a ceramic marker, and we personalized the mugs.  Our favourite was the pug mug for the teen.  On the other side, we wrote, “I didn’t choose the pug life, the pug life chose me.”   She LOVED it.   She also loved that we filled her mug full of mochacchino packets.   I also did the usual baking for gifts.  The teen loves shortbread, so she got snowballs.  The Bee loves ginger cookies, so she got molasses crinkles.

My favourite gift I receive every Christmas is a road trip day from my parents.  They plan a day of driving and exploring when the weather warms up, and we go hiking with a picnic.   There is usually a wine tour with some tasting, and before we head home again, we stop for  a nice dinner.  Although it’s what I ask for and is given to me, the girls and Josh also string along, and it’s a special time for all of us.   We take lots of pictures, laugh a lot and eat too much.

This is what we will remember a long time from now – not the stuff.   I always cringe when people stress about the spending at Christmas.   It’s a choice.   I was spending out of societal expectations, obligation and guilt.  Instead of celebrating the season, I was resenting it.   When I curbed the spending and buying every person a gift because it’s what people do, it was like a weight being lifted.  And it gave all those people buying us gifts an easy out.   It’s as simple as saying, “We have everything we need and more.  We just want to spend time with you and enjoy your company.  That in itself is gift enough.”   We get absolutely no resistance, and to my knowledge, our friends and family still like us.

My favourite part of this way of ‘giving’ and celebrating is that it mirrors the values that we want to pass on to our children. Spending and consuming wisely.  Using our hands and creativity in making.  Family.  Happiness (and love) can not be bought.   Being thoughtful and intentional.  Giving is not just to those we love, but also our community and world around us.  Practising gratitude.  Slowing down.

To that end, we spent New Year’s Eve with a family movie night complete with popcorn and chilled ginger ale.  The girls and I piled on the couch with our pillows under many wool blankets, and we watched the original Footloose.  I’m bringing back every one of Ariel’s outfits.  I’m not going to lie, I belted out every Kenny Loggins tune, and I swooned over Kevin Bacon’s dance moves in the mill.  The teen scoffed, “For real????”, but how could she not be impressed?   There was some eye-rolling, but I think deep down they were feeling it too.

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