02 December 2015

Four Ways I'm A Scrooge And Why That's a Good Thing

I honestly can't remember the last time I made a Christmas list. Oh sure, I see things here and there throughout the year that I would love for Santa to bring me but I honestly can't remember the last Christmas where I felt the need to make a wish list or ask people for gifts. As an adult, it's a tradition of the holiday season that just makes me feel downright uncomfortable. I've always maintained that if I want something bad enough, I'll buy it myself. The idea of others putting themselves in mental, emotional and financial stress and strain for me leaves me with a very heavy feeling of anxiety, to say the least. Nothing makes me more uncomfortable than when I get asked from family or friends, "What do you want for Christmas?" 

At this point, I’d rather scoop my eyes out with a spoon than answer that question. For me, gifts are just not a focus for me anymore during the holidays and now that I have my own daughter to raise, I don't want it to be the focus for her and our family either. There is so much more to the holidays than wasting ungodly amounts of time stressing out about the latest and greatest gadget, wasting time in traffic, fighting crowds and watching adults duke it out over toys, clothing and TV’s. No thanks.

Now, this isn't to say that I don't shop at all when it comes to gift giving, generosity, sharing and the spirit of the season but I will be honest and tell you this - my shopping list has one name and one name only – my daughter.

As much as I love my spouse, we go the whole year purchasing things for us; enjoying date nights, buying gifts for Birthdays and anniversaries, buying things for our home, traveling and long weekends and buying the occasional "thinking of you" items for each other. What more could two people possibly want or need? Absolutely nothing. 

There is something very freeing and liberating about the holidays when you make the conscience choice to not get caught up in the commercialism of it all and to some extent – be a Scrooge, tell people “No” and unapologetically remove the holiday stress and drama from your life.

Four Ways I'm a Scrooge And Why That's a Good Thing

We don't have, nor will we ever have, an Elf on the Shelf.
Put aside the fact that the Elf is a creepy little shit and you have to keep up with moving his creepy little ass on a nightly basis, I refuse to barter and bribe my child into good behaviors that she should already be practicing and let's be honest - that's how it gets used a majority of the time.

I don't give teacher gifts. 
My daughter's enrollment in day care which equals your steady paycheck is my thanks to you for a job well done. In addition, throughout the year, we donate snacks, food and personal time to the Maddy’s classroom and always contribute to the classroom supply fund as needed along with clothing drives, bake sales and book fundraisers. Because of this, I don't feel too bad not doing individualized gifts for teachers. I feel we do enough for our child’s teacher and facility during the year to help. Not doing teacher gifts isn't going to hurt anyone.

Going along the same lines, I will not participate in workplace Christmas activities. I could tell you that my reasoning behind this is to trim spending during the holidays and while that’s true to some extent, it’s not really the whole truth. Simply put, I don’t really feel the need to spend my hard-earned money on people I dislike and find zero interest in fellowshipping with. That may sound harsh but it’s the truth. If we were all telling the truth, you know you’ve felt this way, too.

It's pretty safe to say you'll never get a Christmas card from us.
Let’s get candid for a moment. When you receive a Christmas card, you have that initial, "Oh how cute!" moment but then what? It gets tossed in a pile with the others and thrown away a month later. I'm too cheap to spend any amount of time and money on things people are just simply going to trash, and don't even get me started on the dreaded "Look what we've done this year" letter. You will see no Pinterest-pressured holiday card from us. Furthermore, fighting the four-year-old to get a card-worthy picture simply isn’t worth it. I’d rather subject myself to listening to a lifetime of Frozen songs than deal with that.

In the end, I feel completely liberated and unburdened not to meet unrealistic expectations to make it "A Christmas they won't forget." You see the Pinterest boards with pin after pin of elaborate Christmas projects and gifts. You view the Instagram pictures of immaculately decorated homes. You get bombarded with the Target commercials portraying a perfect Christmas. Pressure, pressure, pressure. We bring it on ourselves and then wonder why and how we let another season go by without really and truly enjoying Christmas. 

But let me also make this crystal clear...

Kudos, high fives and shout outs to those of you who do all these things. To each their own. I've just personally found that for me, this is what works and what makes me feel less burdened and more connected with the spirit of the season and maybe you feel this way too. Maybe you've been thinking for a long time that your Christmas has become far too commercialized and that you’re focused on all the wrong things. You aren't alone. Many people feel this way and often wonder how to have less crazy and more calm and peace during the Christmas season.

So where do I find the joy in things that can't be bought?

·                     Time with my family that I only get to see a few times a year.
·                     Baking cookies and doing Christmas crafts with Chickie.
·                     Enjoying a fabulous Christmas meal and playing games afterwards.
·                     Listening to Christmas music while reading a good book by the lights of the tree.
·                     Making time to give to charity and volunteering for organizations.
·                     Watching classic Christmas movies like 'It's a Wonderful Life' and 'Miracle on 34th Street.'
·                     Reading Christmas books with Chickie.
·                     Decorating the tree as a family.
·                     Making homemade holiday recipes that have been in my family for years.
·                     Enjoying the smell of homemade Christmas potpourri.
·                     Taking the time to do a complete clean out of mine and Chickie's clothing donating those items to a       women and children's shelter.
·                     Cleaning out gently used toys and donating them to an organization collecting for Christmas redistribution to needy children.
·                     Attending free concerts and fun Christmas events for Chickie.

To me, these are just some of my favorite ways to celebrate Christmas that can't be bought. To me, they are priceless. It may sound boring and antiquated to most but when it's all said and done, I can look back at the end of Christmas and truly feel the spirit of the season that will carry me over into the New Year and know that I soaked up every worthy minute offered to me and my family. 

Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup
Courtney @ Shiraz In My Sippy Cup

Courtney is a published author, mom, taco enthusiast, and a Star Wars and Tennessee Volunteers fanatic. She's never met a piece of sushi she didn’t like and enjoys an amazing glass of wine and a great cut of meat. You can read more of her wine-induced, sleep-deprived adventures on The Huffington Post and Scary Mommy.

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