I have always loved Christmas. In fact, one of my favorite days of the year is Christmas Eve. Christmas Eve Eve is pretty awesome too! (If you’ve seen Eloise at Christmas then you know the importance of December 23rd–Christmas Eve Eve) As a kid, like most kids, I loved getting presents. My mom did Christmas up big–lots of cookies, lots of decorations, and lots of presents! My dad enjoyed the decorations and the cookies; the presents he didn’t really care much about.
As I grew into adulthood, I found the joy in giving presents. When I became a mom, I made sure our kids had the same Christmas experiences that I had. I decorated. I made lots of cookies. And I bought lots of presents. There were years that Dave and I had no money to pay basic utility bills, but Christmas presents for the kids was not a negotiable item. I hadn’t heard of love languages at that point, but I wasn’t surprised when I took the love language quiz a little while ago to find that mine was gifts. It isn’t just kids I enjoy giving gifts to either. I love to buy for my husband, my mom, my friends, those less fortunate–whomever may need a day brightener I love to buy a gift for.
Gift giving for the kids was pretty easy at first. The girls usually wanted Barbies and accessories and the boys loved lego sets. As they have grown older, though, I found it got more difficult to get them gifts they wanted that we could actually afford. I have found the bigger the kid, the smaller and more expensive the requests!
This year, I asked our kids the usual question–is there something you want for Christmas that is within reason financially. None of them could think of anything. Sara said there was nothing she needed or even wanted; DJ said he just wanted to be home with family. Zach and Anna haven’t thought of anything either.
I thought about what Christmas would look like without presents. That thought made me quite sad. When giving gifts is one’s love language, the thought of NOT giving gifts on Christmas is not a pleasant one. Would it even feel like Christmas if there were no wrapped presents under the tree? What would we do after our family Christmas breakfast? I knew I couldn’t do it. I know what Christmas really means. I know that the focus should be on Jesus. I get that. And I try to make sure that Jesus is part of our Christmas. But, is that enough? If there were NO presents under our tree, would I be happy? Would our kids be happy? If our presence with each other was all we had, would there still be joy?
I can’t answer that question. And that really bothers me.