It happens every year. Halloween hits and the stores begin to fill up with Thanksgiving and CHRISTMAS goodies. If you are like me, you vow that “This year will be different! This year I will celebrate Christmas as it should be!” However, as the days wind down the Christmas Guilt begins to set in and you start to wonder how to avoid it.
What is Christmas Guilt?
I like to define “Christmas Guilt” as that feeling you get when you feel pressured to buy, get bigger, and want more for the sake of “being in the Christmas Spirit”. I’ve noticed an increasing number of people that state they want Christmas to be simple. They vow it’s not about presents. They turn their focus on helping others and being thankful for the things they have.
I truly believe the feeling is genuine.
However, something happens as the calendar winds closer to the 25th. Those same people (including myself) begin to worry that maybe they haven’t done “enough” for Christmas.
The “Christmas Guilt” sets in.
What Does Christmas Guilt Look Like?
For me, Christmas guilt comes in the shape of regret and worry near the deadline. This year I vowed to enjoy the Christmas season with my family.
We started a new Advent tradition that focused on creating family memories instead of counting down pieces of candy. We turned our Elf into a writing project that fostered creativity, problem solving and team work among the boys. Lastly, we involved the children in the entire “gift giving” process; which meant most, if not all, of our gifts were going to be hand-made by the boys and myself.
I was feeling really good about the way things were going. We have been cranking out the Christmas crafts and doing activities that remind us what Christmas means to us (avoiding the “I wants” and the “I needs”).
We even made a Thanksgiving in December centerpiece to represent all the things we are thankful for this month (not just that one day in November). Things were feeling good.
Then it happened. I started to get the questions. I started to see all the gift giving guides.
What are you getting the kids for Christmas?
What do you want for Christmas?(I have always hated this question)
Can you give us ideas for the kids?
This year my son/daughter wants a….
I started to second- guess myself. Do I need to buy more presents? Do I need to have a shopping list? Am I missing something about Christmas?
How Do I Avoid the Christmas Guilt?
The real truth is.. You can’t! At least I haven’t found a way to avoid it. Just this morning I was talking with a friend about how I felt guilty that we weren’t doing Christmas gifts this year. I don’t have a Christmas list. I don’t have gobs of presents to wrap. Should I?
All I can tell you is that I continue to remind myself of the simplicity I want from Christmas. I am reminded that I am blessed to have the means to live in a nice house, eat a nice meal and be comforted by the pleasures of “things”. There is nothing I need this year.
I am reminded to keep my thoughts on the love and thoughtfulness we are sharing this Christmas. This doesn’t come easy. Each day I have to remind myself of my goals for this Christmas and evaluate whether I feel we are accomplishing those goals or not though the following questions.
- What are the children focused on?
- If asked what do the children say Christmas is all about?
- How are we celebrating Christmas in a sustainable way?
If I can’t answer them the way I want, I know its time to re-evaluate. If I can, then the Christmas guilt shrinks just a little. Sometimes I leave this up to my kids…
The other day Legoman told me “Mom, I know what you want for Christmas.”
Me: “Oh really, hon? What’s that?” (nervous of his answer)
Love! You want love, Mom!
Love in a Box!
And that is how I avoid the Christmas guilt… one day at a time, and one kid reminder at a time!
If you need some inspiration for Alternative Gift Giving, be sure to check out my Alternative Gift Giving Guide
Do you get the Christmas guilt? How do you avoid it? I would love to hear! Connect with me on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram or subscribe by email in the sidebar. I can’t wait to hear your ideas.
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