Monday, December 13, 2010

Manic Monday and The Gift of Nothing.

After last week, which I admit was a week of blah and laziness and general boycotting of going out of the house, this week has started off on the RIGHT foot.

This morning the kids and I headed out to the big evil box giant (read: Walmart) and picked up some necessary items:  hats, gloves, (did I mention it was SNOWING this morning?!), socks and underwear (for me - highly necessary items, btw), bananas, wrapping paper, Christmas cards, and sliced Swiss cheese.  (This was after an incident involving Maeryn and blue nail polish from my bedside table drawer and me in the shower and Jonah saying: "MOMMA!  Maeryn's doing something REALLY bad!"...  and a bath for Maeryn...and the use of ungodly amounts of nail polish remover on more things than you could imagine...).  We returned home with our spoils and ate lunch, then read about fifteen library books and then headed out to the library for more!

Jonah found these books he likes where one page if for the parent to read and the opposite page is for the child.  I admit that they are pretty cool.  Maeryn played on the toddler computers the entire time.  Jonah found about twenty more books he wanted and Maeryn had me pick books for her.  I got a GREAT book about the potty, if I do say so myself:

If you've ever really wanted to know what it would be like if barnyard animals used potty seats, THIS is the book for you!  (Really, I highly recommend it...)

And this sweet book about Rosa Parks:

I loved the illustrations and the rhythm of the words is truly inspiring.

We also got this:

BY FAR my favorite find of the day.


I don't think this is an exaggeration.

It had so much to do with everything that I've been thinking about when it comes to materialism and Christmas and some struggles I've been having personally with the way I think my kids view the holidays and times when they see their grandparents - this book says it ALL.

I don't think I've mentioned it much here, if at all, but this whole...Christmas is about GETTING mentality that is how this season seems to function has been really getting to me.  I would say it's been getting to me since early high school, and with the Advent Conspiracy at church this year and my own thoughts about it last year (yeah, I wanted to go to Walmart and hold signs that said Christmas is about more than presents but none of my friends would go with me.  I even offered free hot chocolate!) - things have sort of come to a head.  I hate that when I ask Jonah what he's excited about when it comes to Christmas he says "presents!"  I know that many of you will say - he's a kid, that's normal.

Okay, fine, it's normal - but is it RIGHT?  Is it what we really WANT this holiday to be about???

Our pastor yesterday told us about a court case where someone tried to sue the government about letting people off of work for Christmas because it violates the separation of church and state.  What's sad is that the state WON the case because they were able to prove that Christmas, as celebrated in America, is not a religious holiday!  Pretty sorry on the Church, when you think about it, huh?

And things like that can't change at a larger level until they change in my own home.  Period.

And here's the thing - it's my fault.  It's the fault of Michael and me.  WE are the ones who get so busy over the holidays we can't do anything fun with our kids BESIDES opening presents on Christmas morning.  We're in meetings and plays and singing at church and working on album releases and not establishing any fun traditions with our kids EXCEPT the opening of presents.  There must be a change, ladies and gentlemen.  And there WILL be a change.  OH - change is COMING.

This week - we're still overscheduled.  It's insane.  Michael is currently at a policy meeting for the theatre, then I have a rehearsal tomorrow night and Wednesday night for the play I'm in at the very same theatre.  Thursday I am meeting with our pastor about the church's drama team.  Then Friday, (praise the LORD!) Michael and I have a date night (our first in MONTHS) - hopefully we can find a babysitter.  Saturday my acting class (that I teach) has their final performance and Michael has ANOTHER policy meeting in the afternoon.  BUT Saturday evening we MIGHT make fudge for friends and we MIGHT go to DC to see the National Christmas tree - which could be a REALLY cool traditions - AND...MIGHT we go ice skating in the sculpture garden?  Ah - we JUST might.

And the week following?  Michael and I are going to sit down and figure out some great new traditions to establish and some new Christmas fun to try - things that have NOTHING to do with getting presents.

Any suggestions?  We'd love to hear what you and yours do to make the season merry - things that DON'T include gift exchange.

PS - If you haven't read The Gift of Nothing, you really should.  In fact, I think that you should do it as soon as humanly possible.  Run out and get a copy right now! Then comment and tell me what you think!

You can purchase your very own copy of The Gift of Nothing at the bottom of this page.


Deborah said...

Do you still have Jotham's Journey? For years, we read that or the companion books each night during Advent.

Missy said...

We do still have it. We have so overscheduled ourselves this year it's just simply not pretty. We haven't all be together for an evening since... well a day like that isn't on this month's calendar - and Jonah doesn't even have swim team! Michael and I have been irresponsible about Christmas this year - period. Our first family time is (maybe) the 22nd.

Heather said...

My family used to do cookie day. We would take one afternoon between Thanksgiving and Christmas in which we made enough cookie dough for the entire season. Some got baked that day, some were put in the freezer for later use. Good times were had by all.

T Peter said...

Holiday traditions:
My in-laws do a HUGE seafood dinner on Christmas Eve, go to church on Christmas morning (which I like), then there's the presents plus mimosas, we veg around until dinner (which is usually fondue and then cheesecake). Suffice it to say that the food often trumps the presents, so not really any LESS about consumption...but at least a different kind, right?

More Christmas-spirit focused:
We have a nativity scene that we set up every year. At Christmas, we read the Bible story and look at all the scene pieces.

One of my favorite Christmas events was when a friend invited me to a Moravian Lovefeast at her church. The event involved Christmas carols, candles, and a sorta-communion with sweet rolls and coffee or cocoa...WAY better than cardboard communion wafers and wasteful plastic cups. Here's more about what it is:

If you already have a church, try to get them to do the Lovefeast. If they won't: I recommend seeking one out in your area, at least for Christmas Eve. It sets a great tone of worship and community for the holiday. Also a great event to lure in non-churchy people you know: it's very welcoming to sing happy songs and have treats.

Missy said...

Love Feast sounds amazing. GREAT idea.

Thanks for the ideas!

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