Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to my friends far and wide!

The holidays always seem to bring about acts of gratitude, feelings of thankfulness and wide spread cheer.

This year has brought about a lot of newness in our household, my son Ivan turned one, both my son Harper and daughter Meredith learned to read, and both my husband and I have been able to move through another year with highs and lows, bumps and gusts of smooth sailing as we both refine our callings in life and offerings to this world!

This year I felt called to reduce mindless giving and find contentment with offering a cheerful presence and only gifts from the heart. And I have to say that even though I felt this desire, I was very apparent that each time I stepped into the store this sweeping sensation to buy crap (pardon my choice of words) came rushing down upon me. My head spinning as I would look at fun, cute, useless items that would only collect dust on our shelves and over time create a perplexing decision to keep or throw away.

family christmas photo 2015

The initial holiday season for my two older kids was filled with the cutting pictures upon pictures of random items to then be glued onto to papers that they were going to ask Santa for. I know this is what some would call normal, but for me, this is not the message I want them receiving or believing Christmas is about.

Over the weeks leading up to Christmas I took time each day to help them zero in on a few key items they felt they really wanted and would actually use, woven into those conversations were discussions about homelessness and the involvement we had in giving to those people, holiday cheer and the true meaning of Christmas. Over those weeks, the sheets containing dozens of glued random, meaningless pictures were forgotten, thrown away and no longer talked about. I was able (ah-hem, I mean Santa) to purchase those few key items alongside a few clothing items for them to wear and grow into, Christmas morning was a success.

And I just want to note that this approach and conversation with my kids has been of such value for me as well, as so many of us want to give to our kids more than we got when we were young. And this Christmas season has been such a moving meditation of acting consciously and really evaluating what I was doing and why. I can’t tell you the number of times I picked something up off the shelf, only to put it back feeling the frantic urge to buy, being not a good enough reason to purchase the item. So those many conversations of the true meaning of Christmas were just as much for my kids as they were for me.

So all in all, I hope that I can plant a seed for my kids, which they are able to see beyond the big sales, the hyped up value society puts on gifts (which giving gifts is not bad, but knowing when it’s too much is important) and to hopefully see the meaning beyond all the stuff. I by no means am trying to rob them of a childhood filled with surprises, believing, or great joy, but rather am trying to help them see in a different way what surprises, believing, and great joy can look like.

I hope that as the years go on I can continue to plant those seeds over and over again and I am hoping that one of these years those seeds will fully bloom into a field of wild flowers spreading Christmas cheer in ways that cannot be bought or mass produced.

I wish you all a very happy holiday season full of family time, laughs, hugs, valued giving, and happy receiving.

Many blessings to everyone!

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