When Less Is More...

In the days leading up to Christmas, my husband and I kept asking each other, "Isn't there something else we should be doing? Are we really finished?"

You see, we, like many, many families this year, were putting together a Christmas on very limited financial resources. In fact, we haven't been this lean since our first few Christmases together. Looking back on those years, everything seemed very simple, even if it didn't feel that way then. In those years, we bought stocking stuffers at the Dollar Store and made most of our other gifts. We had so much fun shopping together back then, creatively stretching our dollars out as much as possible.

Over the years as we became more successful in our jobs and our income rose substantially, we spent more and more on gifts. Gone were the days of actually going to the stores to hand-pick presents for each loved one and wrapping each present so that the wrapping itself was part of the gift. We started shopping online and had them gift-wrapped and shipped directly to each person.

Such a time saver - so much easier and less of a hassle. But something was lost in the extravagance that we didn't even realize we were missing...

...until this year.

We all volunteered at church for the Christmas Eve services, and our pastor gave an amazing sermon titled, "Finding Hope This Christmas" . There wasn't a dry eye in the house, including our own. It was a message that every one of us needed to hear that night, and the impact of it will not be forgotten, I am certain.

On Christmas Morning, as we nervously sat there waiting for our teenage son to come out to see what was waiting for him under the tree, we were so worried about how he would react to having so few gifts to open. Would he be disappointed? Would we be letting him down? Would we have to make excuses for the lack of volume and decadence?

All of our fears were laid to rest as he came out and the huge grin broke out on his face. He wished us a Merry Christmas and asked if he could dole out the (very few) gifts to all of us. We took our time as we opened each one. At this slow pace (instead of the usual feeding frenzy of years past), we noticed the details: the hilarious way our son had addressed the gift tag on our present; the ingenious way my husband wrapped my gift "tapeless" ("I don't need no stinkin' tape!"); the beautiful ribbons and paper my mother-in-law used on our gift.

And we talked. And we laughed.

In fact, I swear we laughed more this Christmas day then we had in years! We played Mexican Train dominoes for 4 hours, watched 3 movies, never got out of our pajamas...and thoroughly enjoyed spending time with each other.

So what did we learn this year? We learned that the most precious gift we each have to give is ourselves. Our time. Our love. Our laughter. Our lives.

We discovered again that, really, less is more.

Tami Roth said...

Molly, this is such a sweet story and thank you for sharing! We put so much pressure on ourselves sometimes. You will remember this special Christmas for a very long time!

Lana said...

Oh how true this is! Your Christmas sounds a lot like my family's Christmas this year. I look back and think of the first Christmas my husband and I spent together. It was so simple, and so sweet, and full of love! Thanks for your post!

Anonymous said...

It was a happy day for him when he gave us our new lives, through the truth of his Word, and we became, as it were, the first children in his new family. JAMES 1:18 LB

Peter (Faith For God) said...

That is so true. Sometimes it takes a dry spell for us to realize that we need to focus less on what we have materialistically to see what we need to focus on relationally. I have noticed that some of my best days were during times of struggle. I am so happy that your christmas was a good one!

Crystal said...

Wow this post actually made me smile with tears in my eyes. It sounds like a perfect Christmas day.

I love the piece you made for Deryns jewelry challenge too!

Kim said...

This was so true , and very touching. It's good to spend time together - not just in the same room , but connecting as a family.
(and your jewelry - that ain't bad either lol)