Sunday, December 21, 2014

“Downsizing Christmas”

            My quest to simplify seeped from not putting up a Christmas tree over into decorating only the dining room table and purchasing just a few holiday gifts.
Only decorations out this year!
            My husband, son and I each picked a couple of items to put on our wish list. As I’d spent months lusting over a second camera lens, my family didn’t think twice about the perfect gift for me. My husband decided to refurbish his old Vox, and my son managed to locate companies that sold the necessary parts to make the guitar look new again. Teddy bear pendants topped my son’s list-again something unique that we found online.
            My siblings proved as easy to shop for since my sister always says, “Nothing,” when I ask her what she wants. And she means it. I will probably send something small through the mail the week after Christmas as an unexpected surprise. My brother, on the other hand, needs and appreciates everything. We often pull together a necessity box that contains items like Tide (which is so expensive), soaps of various scents, his favorite body wash and shampoo, and other household cleansers that tend to eat his grocery budget. These practical items will allow him to spend more of his budget on food. Usually, we also purchase something for my brother that he wants but won’t get for himself. Since he mentioned clothing for this year, and he has to work on Christmas day and the day after, I suggested we go out together on the 27th on a shopping extravaganza to find the items he wants.
            I handed responsibility for my in-laws’ gifts over to my husband. In the past, I would have handled the shopping for them, but simplifying means stepping away from even this task. My husband found something easily for his sister’s home and ordered it weeks ago. He still hasn’t decided on what to do about his brothers, and stated that if he doesn’t find anything it’s not a big deal. My “old” self would want to jump in and hunt for some kind of present—even if it were a token gift; but this is an assignment for him, not me. Talk about an eye opening experience! Why didn’t I sidestep some of these duties years ago?
            I know paring back Christmas and all of its festivities and traditions won’t turn into a permanent lifestyle change. It has, however, caused me to re-examine many things I do around the holiday season and forced me to hone I on the important ones.
            What about our Christmas breakfast of Eggs Benedict and Mimosas?
            Well—some traditions are just too sacred to mess with . . .
Copyright 2014 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman

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