Enlightenment: Ditch the Gifts & Create New Memories
Well folks! It’s January and we are OFFICIALLY out of “Holiday Season” and into a new year. I must admit while I feel a sense of relief from not having advertisements, sales and constant reminders of the need to shop, I will miss the sparkling lights that joyously meet your eye at every turn. There’s something therapeutic about having light greet you at every turn, especially being from a city (Chicago) where cold and gray skies consume majority of the winter months.
As, we wrap up our Winter break and begin to journey in this New Year, I would like to share a few, new practices/traditions that I have intentionally implemented into our family’s practice. Each year, we are stepping further away from America’s traditionally ideas of celebrations and into customs that more accurately reflect our value system and the ethics that we would like to see within our family.
Skipping presents + Creating Memories
Every year, as Halloween comes towards a close, we start to see constant reminders that throw us in a position of extreme consumerism and pressures us to spend more and more money. Every store you enter, every paper you open, every time you turn on the TV there are reminders that “Tis the season to BUY BUY BUY!” This pressure can be overwhelming for many people especially parents. Advertisements are specifically targeted at children and while I try to avoid having the girls buy into this retail frenzy, we never get through a Christmas season without them starting to make their list and check it twice. (Although, I’m working on changing this!)
Last year, I started talking to the girls about the importance of not overspending and decluttering our house. Yes- de
cluttering your house is definitely a thing when you have two smaller children and grandparents who like to spoil them with love… and gifts. Around their birthdays last spring, I began to talk to them more about the idea of not receiving as many presents and not having a birthday party each year (which can cost a lot too). When their birthdays officially came, we ditched the party idea and saved our money for a trip to Wisconsin Dells. We had a great time at the indoor water parks and vacationing in a new spot. The girls had ZERO complaints about not receiving gifts or a party and were quite happy to be spending their birthdays on a vacation. I was also happy that we could create new, fun and exciting memories together and to not have to worry where we were going to fit new toys and gifts. Especially considering we really don’t have room. (As a mom, I am so thankful for all of the gifts that the girls receive, but we are constantly making trips to the Goodwill and exchanging one set of clutter for the next.) We were also all thankful for uninterrupted time together.
As Christmas began to roll around, I wanted to continue give the gift of creating new memories and so again, I decided to ditch the gifts and we bought the girls tickets to Disney. Christmas Day itself, was spent around family and friends. The girls celebrated with their cousins and grandparents. Of course, their grandparents bought them Christmas gifts, but they knew that there wouldn’t be any major gifts from us waiting for them under the tree this year. The girls understood that their present was a trip to Disney and they couldn’t have been more excited. My 7 year old literally asked every. Single. Day. If “today was the day we were going to Disney.”
When we finally arrived to Magic Kingdom, on January 2nd, Disney World was still filled with the joy of Christmas. I mean the place looked ABSOLUTELY beautiful. There were Christmas trees, lights, and decorations, EVERYWHERE.
This absolutely added to the magic that Disney offers. Cinderella’s castle was filled with lights and when the sky darkens not only did the entire park light up, but also the castle. It was dressed with icicle lights on every angle and truly adds to the magic of place. Besides the décor, all of the parades, rides, and shows run their normal course even despite the cold weather! (This year we went and it was 50 degrees with an overcast, so it was quite cool to say the least, but we bundled up and made it work!) We met Princess Tiana and Rapunzel, watched Frozen give an epic performance on the front stairs of the castle, enjoyed a huge parade with all of the Disney characters including Maleficent ( my 9 year old’s favorite), drank hot chocolate, got inside tea cups, rode rides and ended night with huge churros that we dipped in warm chocolate (yum!)
Creating memories to share together is our favorite type of gift. Of course, every trip won’t be to a major theme park such as Disney, but we will continue to create new memories and experiences together. And that is the most important part. Allocating our funds towards creating memories and learning to love, live and grow together. We look forward to sharing new memories with you soon!
Courtney N. Brookins – Author & Poet of Onesun3flowers
The Sun-kissed Chicsters