Every year I think we are going to have a hard candy Christmas, and every year I somehow manage to put together at least a milk chocolate Christmas. This year is probably going to be different for a couple of reasons:
First, we really don't have any money. We have eight people in our three bedroom ranch style house, and only two of them are working. Two are in school and have been told that school is their job right now. Two are struggling with various illnesses and conditions combined with a tough economy. I'm not letting them off the hook. My Christmas wish is that they'd either go to school or get jobs.
Second, even though we are probably less materialistic than most people I know, we are too materialistic for my taste right now. This is not to say I don't like stuff. I do. As I've said before, I am bordering on obsessive hoarding, if I haven't crossed the line. I'm working on that.
It seems to me that when people like me decide to dematerialize Christmas, or any holiday or festival, we don't replace materialism with something else. If we don't have shiny wrapped gifts, what do we have? Most of my family is not religious and those who are are not religious in the same way.
I would like to replace the trauma of Christmas with family time. (I'm seeing the blank stares and rolling eyes.) I'd like to take the family on a walk through the Congaree Swamp, for instance. Or to the zoo's Lights Before Christmas (costs money, but not as much as a Wii.) I'd like to make cookies, maybe. I'd like to make fruitcake like my mother used to make, only edible. We can maybe make Christmas decorations and trim the tree. I guess I want to try to replace stuff with time.
Weird, though. This kind of makes me feel panicky. Time and money are two rare commodities in our life right now. But I guess I need to decide what is important.