It’s absurd. The Baby Man has a hold on us moms. Our innate competitiveness (my child WILL be the cutest kid ever) paired with our maternal instincts (my baby WILL be the most loved baby ever) have turned us into raging consumeristic, neurotic, materialistic snobs. And we don’t even realize it.
This year, I pray that I may be content in the stable. That I may find beauty in the meekness of a humble manger and not try to manufacture it everywhere else. Jesus is easily found in spaces untouched by the desire to put our own greatness on display. I have to be careful not to hide him.
For December’s installment of Want, NEED, Wear, Read, I’ve put together a gift guide for those wanting to de-consumerfy (google it) Christmas.
But the older I get (and the more children I have), the more tension I feel at Christmastime. How do I create the perfect Christmas without making it all about a mythical being and gifts? How do I strike a balance between nauseating consumerism and fun-sucking religion?
In a season that so easily overwhelms, how can I slow down, lower my expectations, and point to the manifestation of Grace and Love in a way that excites my kids and blesses others?
Several years ago, the diamond fell out of my mom’s wedding ring and was lost forever. Being a family of educators, my parents weren’t really in the position to run down to the jewelry store and pick up a diamond. The obvious fix was to replace it with a CZ and wait it out until a diamond became a more feasible option.
Eventually, that day came.
I went down to the jeweler with my mom to decide between an oval or round cut (oval… looked bigger, duh), before heading to McDonald’s, your typical post-diamond-purchase restaurant. While I sat in the car in the parking lot and nursed the baby, my mom and I mulled over our guilt: why do we care? WHY does it matter? Why do rings and diamonds and presents and flowers and material things matter? Why do we even want them?
Clark and I had just wrapped up our fourth Christmas as a married couple, the third in which we hadn’t bought gifts for each other. I’d always felt a little sad about that but had never wanted to admit it.
I don’t need anything. So why do I want him to get me something? Aren’t I being materialistic, selfish, greedy?
This thought continued to nag me. Why do I care? Because he doesn’t care. He finds it completely wasteful. He doesn’t need anything, and neither do I. So why do I want one?? Am I really that worldly?
But maybe it’s not about the gift,. Maybe it’s more about what the gift represents.
1. She wants to know you know her.
She wants to know that you know what she likes, what she doesn’t like, what she wears, what she reads, what she craves, what she pines after. She wants to know that she’s not just a forgotten appendage, something you need and like but sometimes forget about. She wants to know you pay attention, even now.
2. She wants to know she’s worth it.
Not the money. It’s not about the money. Really. She wants to know she’s worth the time and energy. It seems like all of that is given to the kids these days. This is your chance to prove to each other that you’re willing to go out of your way and spend time you don’t have to bless one another.
3. She wants to know you sacrificed… for her.
She wants to know you gave up a night of SportsCenter to go to the mall, a place you detest. Or even just ten minutes of SportsCenter to order something online. We’ll take that.
4. She doesn’t want y’all to forget about “us”.
When you get married, romance can wane. When you have kids, romance gets pooped on, spit up on, and then forgets to take a shower. Romance tends to wear pajamas all day and doesn’t have time for makeup. It takes concerted, purposeful effort now to remind each other that you really do love and appreciate one another. A lot. Christmas tends to be all about the kids, which is mostly our fault, but let’s not forget about us. At some point, even if it’s just for thirty seconds in between tantrums and feedings, let’s just focus on you and me.
5. She wants your kids to see it.
She wants your kids to see that passion and romance and desire don’t die when you get married. Can you do this a million other different ways throughout the year? Yes. And I hope you do. But she wants your children to know that y’all aren’t just parents, you’re also lovers (Gross. I can’t believe I just used that word). You love to shower each other with affection, and sometimes that comes in the form of a gift.
And let me be clear: she wants to do all these things for you too.
She wants you to see that she knows you.
She wants you to know that you’re totally worth obsessing over the perfect gift for months.
She wants you to open her gift and be floored by her thoughtfulness, to feel like she really pays attention to you.
She wants you to feel LOVED, even if it’s mostly her love language. You can speak a foreign love language, right?
It’s not about spending a lot of money. I don’t expect a red-ribbon adorned Lexus in the driveway. In fact, I might be a little upset. Merry Christmas, here’s some debt. If you wrote a long letter about how thankful you were for your marriage, we might cry those happy tears. And that’s FREE. Husbands like that word.
Let’s just set these expectations out on the table. It simplifies things doesn’t it. We want something. Nothing big. Just something. Something that says you love us. Something that says you went out of your way for us because you cared about making us feel adored.
And maybe in return you’ll get a little som’n som’n too… 😉
Like a necktie. Cufflinks. Boxers. Something.