We gave up Santa years ago, just as we gave up the majority of gift-giving for birthdays and other holidays.  Our lack of present-giving originally started as a result of hunkering down and not spending money during some very lean years, but eventually it developed into a lifestyle and philosophy.

As we started having children, the great debate about Santa began. In truth, it turned out that it wasn’t much of a debate. I wasn’t a huge fan of the commercialization of the holiday and Santa, and neither was Jared. It just seemed a given that we wouldn’t go down that road.  Our children know about Santa, but they know more about Jesus Christ, and his role in Christmas.  They know to keep their mouths shut to other children about Santa (although it can be tricky to keep a know-it-all 6 year old under wraps), and I find they still talk about Santa just like any other children.  At the store, they’ll still shout “Oh, look Mommy! There’s Santa on a scooter!” or “Can we watch that movie about Santa’s workshop and the little bear again?” Their experience of Christmas isn’t jaded or bah-humbug. It is still Christmas! But the difference is that we don’t hear “Gee, I hope Santa brings me THIS for Christmas,” or “Santa’s going to bring me a car for Christmas, because that’s what I want!”

Christmas has become an extremely successful sales pitch from the world of consumerism. Perhaps it is the retailer in us that has helped us realize this. I admit we are guilty of selling wares that are unnecessary accessories to life. We’ve been in this boat for 6 years now. “You need this product…you will love this…it will make your life better…your husband will looove this gift…buy-buy-buy!”  We know the pitch well!

But knowing the pitch has helped us to step back and think, “Really? Is this what life is all about? Do these people really need an uber-cool bamboo cutting board? Or beautiful pottery to eat off of?” Sure, we like it all too. But, we know that it is just stuff.

It is insignificant stuff to fill our lives, purpose, and spirit.

We want to consume, so we must work, and we exchange those hours of our lives to work for that which we want to consume. What’s the purpose in that?

We once asked a good friend what she liked to do.  She looked at us blankly. “Do?

“Yeah, you know…do…what are your hobbies? What do you like to do?”

She couldn’t come up with an answer. At that point in her life she didn’t have passion, purpose, or spirit. She didn’t read, didn’t do activities with friends, exercise, do crafts, anything. She went through the motions. She and her husband worked hard every day so they could return home, buy take-out food, watch TV, and buy more stuff.  How many of us are guilty of this?

We get so busy consuming, that we fail to remember what it is that actually makes us happy. How much of our lives are we trading to buy that new thing? How many hours must we work to buy that upgraded TV? How many weeks or years of our lives are we trading? Do our our daily activities and pursuits (and yes, gift-buying) helps us to pursue our personal happiness? Are we helping the receiver of the gift pursue their goal of personal happiness?

What is Christmas really about? Spending money on gifts, or spending time where it matters most?

Why not skip the gifts, and take that time off work to pursue something that makes YOU happy?!

Why not find out what makes your heart skip beat, your heart hum a tune, and find a new passion in your life?

And since you’re probably wondering…what’s for Christmas in our house this year?  Well, one of our passions is travel, and this Christmas we’re exploring the Yukatan Peninsula in Mexico!  Sure, we picked up a few things for the kids to help make the trip more exciting (new goggles and a snorkeling set), but I’m sure we won’t even be able to wait until Christmas to give them to them. In that case, Christmas will likely be just a few slap wrist watches that we picked up for the girls for $3.50 each, and hopefully some beach towels for each of us (if we can find some along the way). It will be a great Christmas!

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To read other blog posts on this topic from other “Family on the Move”, check out the following posts:

Pearce On Earth: A Different Kind of Christmas

Family Trek: What’s For Christmas? Dear Santa, do we really need more stuff?  

The Nomadic Family- Poverty for Christmas

New Life on the Road – Dear Mr Santa Claus Whats For Christmas

With 2 Kids In Tow, It’s Backpacking We Go:  Dear Santa, For This Christmas We Wish…

Discover Share Inspire – Christmas is Coming – What Do We Give on the Road?

Bohemian Travelers- Gift giving while living a simpler life

Presence vs Presents – Christmas Time for Travelling Families 

Family Travel Bucket List – Feliz Navidad Without All the Stuff

Livin On The Road’s kids – Christmas Traveling & Christmas

A Minor Diversion – Reinventing Christmas

Edventure Project – On Christmas–A Reflection on the Real Gifts

Carried on the Wind – Christmas Giving 

Wheel Education’s Daughter – What Christmas Means to Me 

11 Responses to “The best Christmas presents”

  1. It’s sad that there are so many people like your friend who don’t have hobbies, or worse, whose hobby is shopping!

    Like you, we’re getting more practical gifts for the children this year, but not in the quantities of years past. Amazing how something as “simple” as travel can change your perspective on SO many different things!

    • Exactly…I’m all for using the holidays as an excuse to give them practical things (that we probably would have already purchased anyways…heehee…), and it most certainly doesn’t need to be in large quantities!! Time to find some real hobbies!

  2. Love your idea about living the life with simple things! Gosh I cant believe your friend didnt know what she “Liked” – why do we do that…work crazy hours, for money so we can buy more stuff? This is going to be our first year in our Motorhome. Our first year we are going to do a new tradition!

    Cheers
    Lisa

  3. Loved that you got the kid something they could use on your Christmas vacation. That’s a really great idea. Enjoy the sun and sea!

  4. What a great post! People are so numb! We have all done this, go through these motions and if we don’t see it early enough most of our lives is wasted in the consumer work/buy cycle. I think your article will open many eyes!

    • I hope so. I was thinking of the person, assuming that she will never run across this (and if she did…would she even associate herself with it? I don’t know!). Life should be a little more complex, don’t you think?!!

  5. We’ve never “done” Santa either. To me it detracts from the real meaning of Christmas. We do celebrate St. Nicholas day on December 6th and teach our kids about the real man.
    Hope you have a great time in the Yucatan! We spent a couple weeks there when I was pregnant with my now 3 1/2 year old. It was great.

    • I’ll need to look up more on St. Nicholas day. I tell my kids the general story that I know…but I really know it only so vaguely, that I’m sure I’m probably making most of it up (oh wait, it’s only 30 seconds long of a story that I know, anyways)!! I also like 3 King’s Day, which is celebrated awhile after Christmas in Mexico, and is in memory of the 3 Kings bring gifts. That’s a lot more meaningful than Santa!!

  6. Congrats on the first year in the motorhome…sounds great! Don’t you love that you don’t have to follow all the traditions of generations past…that you can start something new that makes sense for your lifestyle NOW?!! Merry Christmas!

  7. So true, ‘We want to consume, so we must work, and we exchange those hours of our lives to work for that which we want to consume. What’s the purpose in that?’ and unfortunately, at this time of year, this is ‘stressed’ even more! Slowly though, I think more and more peeople are beginning to question this insanity! Hope you have a great Christmas in Mexico!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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