Is it enough?

With the smell of turkey still lingering, my busy mind went to work on the next big thing. Christmas. I pulled out my supplies and went to work on a special present for my little girl, a tutu. Handmade with love by Santa’s number one elf {her mama}. As my hands went to work, my mind went over the lists in my head of what each child will be receiving this year, as well as other relatives. And of course, I had the “is it enough” thought.

I always get that thought.

I firmly believe that handmade gifts are the best. And although I’m not terribly crafty, in years past I’ve done my best to include handmade gifts whenever possible. But I always supplement because for whatever reason, I never think it’s enough to give something without a price tag.

Last December I read an article in Wonder Time magazine {now out of print, I believe…} about a family who made the decision to only give thoughtful gifts made with their hands and hearts. Coupon books, hand written letters to one another, small crafts, you get the idea. It struck me so deeply that all year we’ve been giving hand made gifts for birthday presents. And I had the best intentions for Christmas. I have made quilts, and those no sew fleece blankets in the past. But because of lack of energy, I settled, though I am very proud to say that most of the gifts we’ve chosen to give have been handmade, just not by me. They’re bought from small businesses that I believe in, or the proceeds of gifts go to help someone in need. We do have several projects lined up for myself and the kids, which should be fun and bring a few smiles to those opening them.

But I feel like this is just the beginning. From here on out, I am not going to ask myself if we’re giving enough to people who do not need anything. That sounds a little harsh, but it’s not meant to be. I love gifts as much as the next person, but I would much rather receive a gift from the heart that doesn’t cost a cent, than an expensive gift when I do not need anything.

The Christmas season is one of my most favorite times of the year. The spirit of it. The decorations, carols, cookies, wonder, and joy that comes with the month of December make it irresistible. I’m watching Fynn’s amazement as he notices the holiday decorations as we drive through town, and realizing that his wonder right now has nothing to do with presents. And we can foster that wonder and hopefully steer away from the commercialism that has taken over so much of the season. Back to giving, and giving to those who are actually in need.

We are a family, not unlike many others, that is not wealthy in the monetary sense. We live on a tight budget, count the days until the next paycheck at times, but we always have food on the table. We want for very little. We do not need anything, as we have so much compared to so many others. When we have a few extra dollars it goes towards those who need it more. And recently, that’s been often. Five dollars here and there can help. Or a dinner. I like to cook dinners to give to friends who need a break – in many different circumstances.

This year, I have hope that we can turn around and change for the better when it comes to the holiday season. It’s been on my mind quite a bit, and what gives me extra hope is knowing others think about it, and act, as well. Some of my favorite bloggers have come together and are working on giving to the needy, in the spirit of what Christmas is actually about. Check them out over at Christmas Change, and be inspired. I have. I’ve been moved to tears by posts, and humbled beyond  anything I could imagine.

From now on I’ll be asking myself if we’re giving enough to those in need. And if the gifts we give our family are thoughtful, meaningful, and somehow made by {our own when possible} two hands and given with our hearts. Don’t get me wrong, there will be a few store bought gifts under our tree. I can’t whip up a tricycle or the like without a little help. But you’d better believe they’ll be eco friendly options when available, if not recycled and refurbished if possible. But that’s another post altogether… about moderation, teaching gratitude, about loving what you have.

But for now, if you’ll excuse me, I have a tutu to fluff with love.


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9 responses to “Is it enough?

  1. This is a nice thought. In thinking back, the less my girls got any one Christmas or birthday, the more they remember. And the gifts I still treasure are the ones they made. For a slightly different and yet complimentary perspective, read this.
    God bless you and yours.

  2. Booling

    Both of David and I’s families do something cool for Christmas. Over the years we realized we were all going crazy trying to come up with affordable unique gifts or I would go nuts trying to make things I deemed ‘good enough’. So we switched to gift swaps, which was never quite as fun. So now each adult writes a check for $25-$50 whatever your family can afford, more if you want and after Christmas dinner everyone (mostly the kids in David’s family) goes through the Heifer International catalog and chooses what we will send where with the money. One year was a water buffalo to a village in Vietnam! We have send more chicken and ducks to places then you can imagine! (they are super cheap)
    It is super fun, and a little more mindful as a group then just cutting a check to somewhere!
    Everyone still buys/makes for the little ones. Oh and the parents usually by for the adult kids but that is optional!
    Oh, and this was totally not my idea!! David’s fabulous Aunt started this but I brought/am bringing it to my family!!

  3. A good Black Friday reminder. Thanks, Corinne.

    I posted last week about the explosion of toys (particularly plastic, noisy ones) among my son’s circle of friends. I asked then and am still wondering, what are we really trying to buy when we bombard our kids with so much stuff?

    I’m not particularly handy myself, but I appreciate your concrete suggestion about sticking to ecofriendly and recycled products. I also love the previous commenter’s idea of using the Heifer International catalog. Brilliant!

  4. This is beautiful and I agree.
    My beloved and I are always looking for ways to give more to those who don’t have the bounty we enjoy.
    We have found it truly is more blessed to give than to receive.

  5. I often feel this way … my husband’s family tradition is LOADS of gifts for everyone … it’s a struggle to find balance. I find myself praying that God will bring us to the place He wants us. Thank you for this thoughtful post.

  6. What a totally excellent way to look at giving during Christmas! I am going to share with my husband the question you posed:are we giving enough to those who need it rather than those who do not? We’ve been talking about gift giving during the past week, and we were a little hesitant to go the route we went last year — giving gifts through in honor of our family members who already have enough — because no one actually seemed to like it. But with thought, we decided that it’s our gift, and it’s a wonderful gift whether they like it or not.

  7. What a wonderful perspective! I’m so glad you posted this. We’re already struggling with the gift-giving aspect of Christmas, and it starts to overshadow what the holiday is truly about. Both my & my husband’s families go all out with shopping for gifts, and it’s hard to figure out how to gently pass on the message that less really is more. I was hoping to do more homemade, thoughtful gifts…but didn’t plan my time well and don’t think I’ll be able to do all I hoped before Christmas Day arrives. Eek…

  8. yes, it’s a good challenge. Thank-you. One more reason to lay down the measuring stick and just start doling out the love.

  9. This is just so sweet to me. I still have a few things that family members made me. My little brothers cut out a family holding hands for me when we were small, and I still carry it in my wallet.

    Thank you for this post.


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