Saturday, October 4, 2008

A Simpler, More Joyful Christmas...

There's that ubiquitous pumpkin again. The thing I want to draw attention to, though, is the book on the left, on top of Simple Sewing. Tonia alerted me to the existence of this, and I ordered it immediately. It's Hundred Dollar Holiday by Bill McKibben. I really like McKibben and this book! I appreciate what he says here about why he's promoting less busyness and less spending at Christmas. It wasn't because he was a being a Grinch, and it wasn't just to make things "simple" in the name of being simple:

"It wasn't because we wanted a simpler Christmas at all. It was because we wanted a more joyous Christmas. We felt we were being cheated-- as if the season didn't bring with it the happiness we wanted. We were Christians, and we felt that the story of the birth of this small baby who would become our Savior, a story that should be full of giddy joy, could hardly break through to our hearts amid all the rush and fuss of the season."

I mentioned in a recent post that I want to "simplify" our Christmas this year even more than in years past. We've never been really big Christmas-spenders, and last year, I made a pointed effort to scale that back in half again. And we've never been the type of family to be busy-busy, so that's not been a major issue, either.

What I've always wanted to do, though, and I want to go further with this, was to keep things simple and streamlined and lovely so that faith and family could more easily be our focus. We don't force the spiritual, but it's there, and we allow time for it. Simple decorations. Togetherness. Time for joyful festivities, celebration, traditions, fun, and quiet contemplation, too.

We want to resist that sense of obligatory consumerism. A simple, thoughtful gift, whether it's purchased or made-- a token of love and appreciation and celebration-- is enough. We'll have our usual, relaxed Christmas Eve buffet; not too much, but appetizing and attractive. Christmas morning cinnamon rolls always start a slow-going day of family, games, puzzles, napping, carols, conversation, and-- toward day's end-- a leisurely enjoyment of a Christmas dinner.

Less busy and rushed. Less stuff. Less waste.

More time to take in the Mystery of Advent. More meaning. More wonder. More family. More joy.