Thursday, December 23, 2010

Un-American ??

Basically that's what a friend called us for not participating in the consumer side of Christmas. "We're not stimulating the economy, not taking part in capitalism." I know we're different & sometimes I'm sad for Julia to not have the whole experience of waking up on Christmas morning to a tree with lots of presents under it. I have fond memories of the anticipation & excitement & watching my sister, brother & parents open their presents too. However, we don't want to spend our money or energy that way. Plus she's so young, it's just like with her birthday, she enjoys opening the present for the paper factor, but the gift is not that important.

I was watching an interview on "The Today Show"about this video of a 3 year old boy last Christmas opening a gift & it was a book. His response was negative, basically books are not gifts. Parent sent video to some friends (she thought it was funny), it got on Youtube, went viral, got 1 million hits or something. Child is 4 now, mom & boy are on TV being interviewed, he's cute, quite a ham actually, funny, mom explains that he loves books, defending her child's behavior. Then interviewer presents a gift to the boy, he opens it to reveal Woody doll from "Toy Story 3" (nice product placement) & the response is "I already have it." Not grateful or excited & I know he's 4, but that is spoiled & unattractive behavior. Eventually after prompting from mom, he says thank you.

In contrast to material gift exchange, we like the simple celebration, spending time with family & friends, going to church on Christmas Eve, eating a home cooked meal, having nice conversations. We don't know what the future holds, we might change our traditions as Julia gets older, but right now she enjoys looking at her "Christmas in the Manger" book (thanks, Aunt Niki!). She calls out the characters - star, donkey, ram, ox, shepherds, wise people, Mommy (Mary) & baby Jesus - as we read the story. That is what I want her understanding of Christmas to be!