Retro Reading~ Christmas Manifesto, Part 2

This post was originally published August 12, 2008 and has been slightly updated/modified for 2009. You can read the re-published version of Part 1 here.

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When a family close to us decided to stop giving and receiving presents at Christmas a few years ago, I’d say we were surprised (but not really surprised) and in a way, disappointed. Especially me, as my #1 Love Language is definitely Gifts (which means I like receiving, but equally I love giving!). It was hard for me to imagine not getting to pick out that perfect gift for those that we love at Christmas, as we’ve always been conditioned to do. It never dawned on me that perhaps my perception of Christmas was in need of some tweaking.

For this family the decision was simply an outward expression of their desire to celebrate Christmas for what it should be, Jesus’ birth, and not for what it has become, American Consumerism. I definitely could understand this side of the argument, and respected their decision, although for me, I didn’t feel like I could give up on the giving/receiving completely.

Fast forward to the present {2008}, where I’ve been reading and thinking a lot about simplifying life– in many forms, be it ingredients (real vs. artificial, for example), products I use, space I imagine I need to live in, amount of energy I use, things I own, etc.– basically doing a gradual life philosophy overhaul.

In my research, I stumbled upon a book that caught my interest, Hundred Dollar Holiday: The Cause for a More Joyful Christmas. I checked it out at the library, read it in one sitting (it’s pretty small), and agreed with almost everything in it. I’ll elaborate on this book as I continue this series, but for now, let’s converse a little about holiday gifts…

I've got some great (simpler) gift ideas coming up for those of you who want to continue the tradition (like my family does), but I'd love to hear stories, ideas or philosophies from any point on the spectrum.

What are your gut reactions to cutting out gifts at Christmas? Could you do it? Would you want to do it? Have you come up with any new/modified gift-giving traditions? Come on, be honest… no arguments/judgments, please, just your own opinion on the topic.