The truth is, I’m a bit disappointed. Things haven’t gone exactly as I’d hoped. For years now, I’ve been doing a mostly Buy Nothing Christmas, buying only the minimum amount of things I need in order to make all my Christmas presents. I love spending time crafting gifts for my loved ones – whether a pair of knitted socks for my husband, or a pair of earrings for my mom. I love all the moodling time spent thinking about these gifts – which yarn, which bead – would best fit the intended recipient.
But I’m feeling especially guilty because yesterday my December article for PeaceSigns came out. In that article, I write about gifts and how we hope that they will bring us love and fulfillment – not in receiving a gift from someone else – but in giving a gift, we hope that we will get love in return.
As you must know with articles like that, it was written before Advent even started. I relied on past memories of making gifts and projected hopes for this current season of gift-making. Maybe there was no “out of control buying and spending” for me this year, but there was certainly more than enough “running in circles”. It makes me cringe just to read those words of mine.
A surprising dimension of my gift-making this year is how inadequate I felt making them. In previous years, it was a choice to not spend money. And it felt good to detach myself from the world of retail consumerism. I felt like I was taking a stand and doing something noble.
But this year, there was no choice. I made gifts with what I had, was forced abort some ideas because it would mean buying extra supplies, and agonized over every single thing I made. “Buying nothing” out of necessity made me feel like nothing I made was good enough. All my high-minded ideas were turned on their heads and had their feet put to the fire as the war against consumerism raged within me.
In the end, just because I didn’t spend a lot of money doesn’t mean that I succeeded in having a better attitude about Christmas and gifts than someone who spent thousands of dollars at the mall. That’s humbling. One might hope I would learn some valuable lesson here. But let’s not trust too much in my ability to be consistent.
Remind me sometime to tell you the truth about Thanksgiving after writing my November article for PeaceSigns. Ugh.