By René Syler
HOW LESS CAN ACTUALLY BE MORE….
Here we are again, another holiday season. I have made the same promise to myself year after year, my husband can attest to that. That promise is this: We will NOT overdo the gift giving this year. This year I really mean it!
Where did this come from, you ask? Well, years ago, when we were living in Dallas with a big house, big yard with a bank account to match, we fell into a very bad habit. We started buying “stuff”. Said “stuff” did not make us happier; in fact, I would argue just the opposite for a couple of reasons. It cluttered our environment. There were toys everywhere, the kids were scattered in their enjoyment of them, they were left everywhere, which did nothing for the clutter issue, and they were easily bored. The other thing is, and it’s not one I’m proud of, we didn’t appreciate what we had. It was not our family’s finest moment.
But what got me thinking this way was after one particular Christmas morning, there were bags and bags, empty cardboard boxes and copious amounts of trash. The tree looked like it had thrown up presents and it just felt, oh I don’t know, OBSCENE! That’s when I put my foot down. Never again! So this year, here it is, The Good Enough Mother Guide to A Happy Holiday and it’s just three simple steps:
GET FOCUSED: This has been a tough year. I think so many of us have been sleepwalking through our existence, if not in general, certainly this year. But sometimes that stoicism causes us to miss out on the little things that make us happy. With regard to gift giving, it doesn’t have to be the biggest box under the tree; I’m always thrilled when my kids take the time and imagination to make something for me. I know, sounds corny, but it’s true. We moms LOVE that and a lot of times it costs next to nothing.
GET LESS: This is about sheer volume. I don’t want to ever feel the way I did looking at all that trash leftover after that Christmas. I think it felt obscene to me because there was no real need for it. Now with so many people struggling, I want Casey and Cole to understand and learn to appreciate what they get.
GIVE MORE: I’m not talking about money or the dreaded “stuff”, I mean give of ourselves. Things like time and talent don’t cost a dime. This week, Casey, Cole and I (Buff too) will be talking about what shape that takes. What can we do as a family to enrich the lives of others, maybe right in our own community? As you know I’m a part of Evenflo’s Savvy Parent campaign, so how’s this for a Savvy Tip? Head over to a friend’s home, you know, the one with a little baby and no time to herself? Put the baby in the ExerSaucer and her in the shower; trust me, she’ll appreciate the gift of time. The point is the need is there; it won’t take much to find it.
So there you go, the Good Enough Mother Guide to a Happy Holiday. Have you ever had a moment like the one I described above? What did you do? What’s your plan to make the holiday more meaningful?
René is the author of Good Enough Mother: The Perfectly Imperfect Book of Parenting and founder of its subsequent website, www.goodenoughmother.com.