A couple of years ago after watching the children open all the presents and hear them talking about what they didn’t get, I realized we needed a reality check. So, plans for the upcoming Christmas were looking a little different.
After sharing with my husband the need for less commercialized Christmas, we decided that we would need to set the environment to be successful. We planned for a country setting at Beaver’s Bend in a cabin with no TV, no radio, no video games, and no cell phones. We decided to have only hand made gifts and no store bought anything which included the tree and ornaments.
The children thought we had lost our minds.
One month before the next Christmas, we began helping the children make they presents. It changed they focus to what they could do for others and off themselves. My son and his Dad made jewelry for the girls. The girls tried to whittle a toy for their brother. I learned how to make dolls for the kids. It was quite wonderful to watch everyone work so hard for others and they forgot about themselves.
Then the trip to the woods without a tree, lights or decorations. The children could not believe that they needed to go cut the tree down and make the decorations. They called it the trash tree with a Pringles can holding the star and popcorn ribbons. Again, the bonding of family time was wonderful to watch and they didn’t even realize that they were missing all the commercialized gifts.
On Christmas Eve without TV or phones, we were able to sit by the trash tree with the glow of a fire and talk about what Christmas was truly about. The children had a great time and they said that it wasn’t as bad as they thought, but that yes we were still crazy parents.
Have you ever taken a break from the usual Christmas?
Sherrie Martin is the Labor & Delivery/ARTS Manager at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Plano and a Mom of six.