Decluttering Christmas

We still have Christmas with my cousins.

I know - at the age of nearly 40, it's pretty unusual to get together with aunts and uncles, cousins and grandparents every Christmas Day, but I am lucky enough to have relatives who love each other and still want to get together.

My cousins of course, are all grown up and we all now have little children. For the last five years we've been 'lucky-dipping' names for a 'cousins Christmas present' for the kids, but this year we've decided to let it go.

It was an easy decision to make. 

"I'm decluttering, and it's just one more thing," I said.

"I can't think of a single thing my girls need," said one cousin.

"Fantastic. That's one less thing to do," said the other cousin.

Now, I'm not against Christmas presents. I certainly don't want to not receive the rather scrumptious necklace my mother is purchasing for me (I saw it, she bought it). But somehow I want it to be about the love that comes with the gift, rather than the thing inside the box.

Gift-giving is a tangible way of showing your family you love them. It's traditional and it's Biblical. Somehow, though, I would like to see our gifts become more meaningful, more symbolic, more useful, more personal or more beautiful.

When gift giving becomes a chore or a duty instead of a pleasure, it kind of sucks the joy out of the whole deal. When children are showered with plastic stuff they don't really want or are going to treasure, I can't see that it's a good thing.

I don't have the gift giving thing under control. This year, I have enjoyed buying for some people and I've muddled through buying for others. I'd love to hand-make my presents, but I haven't got the time. I'm trying to support local businesses rather than massive chains and I'm really trying to support the book industry at a difficult time. 

Perhaps the love I'm trying to show needs to come with personal messages in cards, or with sustainable wrapping or, I don't know. What do you do to love your family and friends with gifts at Christmas? How do presents work in your family?

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