Because we have chosen to live out of five carry-on bags, our Christmas this year was aligned with values we have always shared. We frequently talked about having more experiences and less “stuff” around the holidays. We would brainstorm “green” or environmentally friendly holiday wrapping and talk about how to give to others less fortunate. We were successful at times, in certain areas, but overall our celebrations fell into the overindulged, commercial camp. The day after Christmas our garbage cans runneth over with unnecessary packaging from toys already forgotten.
This year we didn’t think about the shoulds of years past. We should spend more time together and focus less on stuff. We should have a “green” holiday. We should give back. We should send 250 cards. We should personalize those cards. We should slow down. We should get things done . . . And the list continues.
This year our larger vision created the framework for all of our decisions. We bought things that would inspire the kids’ creativity and that they would be able to pass onto other kids when it was time to pack up in a month or two. We focused on experiences for the time we are here and found unique ways to “wrap” those ideas. Our son had a dog on his list and it just so happened the neighbors were leaving town for a few weeks so we borrowed their lovely canines!
All of a sudden being “green” was not ancillary and aspirational, it was the only way and it was easy! As the kids talked about who they will pass their toys along to, I realized this is the first year they have really internalized the wonder of giving.
What made all this possible? The gift of time. Because we left the shoulds behind and had a clear vision, we had time to really muse over what we wanted to give and how we wanted to present our little jewels. Again, we knew people who were experts at striking this unique balance at home, but not us. We often felt like we were running a race in December and we could not wait to cross the finish line.
Zora Neale Hurston said, “There are years that ask questions and years that answer.” For us, 2013 was the year that answered.