Throughout my entire life, the winter holidays have been made extra special thanks to my mother’s fanaticism for decorating the house and setting traditions. I always felt like we had the best family traditions as we grew up, and I never knew if it was just stuff that my parents made up as they grew their family or if it was stuff they took from their own families. I’ve gathered since then, though, that they forged their own traditions. And I think that’s what made it even more authentic and magical.
Considering the house was always littered with shipping boxes by the time it was 8:00 a.m. on Christmas morning, it’s going to be quite a weird sight this year when we have far less cardboard strewn across the fireplace room. And that all stems from us growing older and knowing that sometimes it’s easier for everyone to gift money or just one or two gifts to each other.
We used to be a family of excess, always spending on whatever we wanted at the time. And I think it put a little bit of stress financially on my parents and then my brother and I after we left the house. But in the past year or two, we’ve all experienced financial revivals, thanks to being able to knock out large amounts of debt.
And so now we find ourselves much more focused on the family time, the memories we make playing cards or talking about our futures, than ever before. I think that’s truly invaluable, and it’s why spending less around the winter holidays is such an underrated thing in American culture.
So, despite the fact that we’ll see far fewer shipping boxes scattered around this year, I think we’re all looking forward to it more than any other year thanks to the stress we’ve eliminated around the holidays. If only other families could see these things and what the correlation is, I think so many people would be happier than they currently find themselves. The whole idea of giving and getting gifts is meant to create a sense of a “rush” when you open something, and it’s the peak of consumerism when you really sit down and consider why we do it in the first place.
So, I encourage you to think about spending your time or money elsewhere than material things around these holidays, as experiences are infinitely better than something that you won’t use in just a year.