One year when my friend Jennie and I were in high school, her father declared that they were forsaking their traditional Christmas celebration to jet off to the tropical islands of Turks and Caicos. They would purchase no gifts, but rather make funny hats for each other that they would exchange on Christmas morning. I remember Jennie relaying this information to me and then showing me the (quite elaborate) funny hat that she had been working on. My fifteen year old self was horrified. "But..but..NO presents at ALL?!?! NO tree?!? What the heck is a Turks and Caicos?!?!" In hindsight, however, I have decided that Jennie's dad was a genius.
Without exception, ALL of my favorite holiday memories are of the things that my family did together, not of the things that we accumulated. I couldn't recount to you one gift I got the year a blizzard trapped us in a deserted motel in upstate New York. What I remember from that Christmas, is the look of joy on my younger brother's face as we spent hours sledding on the freshly fallen snow. I don't recall what was under the tree the year my mom couldn't get the tree to fit in it's stand. But the hilarity that ensued as she marched into the house with a chain saw to fix it, is a gift that I will treasure always. And of course, there is the food...I always remember the food.
We give presents to show that we love each other, but what if there was another way to express that?? What if we gave time together and memories instead?? Isn't that what everybody really wants, anyway?? Well, that and a funny hat...
-♥ J :)
P.S. A zero waste Christmas.