Remember “Silver Bells” –that old song about shopping and Christmas lights?
A few years ago, I asked my husband & kids what traditions they loved the most and which ones they would rather stop altogether. I can’t say I loved their responses, but it *has* taken a lot of pressure off me!
These days we tend to just get our kids one thing (plus do-dads in their stockings). When the kids were younger, I would give them each 3 gifts: one toy, one book, and one article of clothing. Of course, grandparents, aunts and uncles provided gifts as well.
We have a large extended family (although not as large as yours, Mary Alice) and I’m all for giving experiences over material gifts. One year we received a one-year zoo membership. It was perfect! No extra toys to pick up, just fun outings to take whenever we felt like going. About 8 years ago, it finally occurred to us all to exchange names: each adult purchases (and also receives) one gift, with a $25 limit (my side of the family coughs up an additional $10). This year, my husband’s family decided we didn’t even need that, so we are pooling the money we would have spent and purchasing goats through Samaritan’s Purse (Heifer International also does this).
So what do you do to achieve less stress and more Christmas spirit?
PS: Mary Alice wrote a great post about Christmas over at the Women’s Colony.