Within the past few years, there’s been a definite trend of sharing what we DON’T do at the holidays.
“We gave up sending Christmas cards.”
“We don’t exchange gifts with extended family.”
“We don’t mess with all the Advent trappings.”
“We don’t go to a hundred Christmas parties.”
“We only buy ___ gifts.”
“We don’t host a big gathering.”
“We don’t put up elaborate decorations.”
“We don’t, we don’t, we don’t.”
What typically follows is a whole lot of:
“Good for you!”
“This is a season and you’re doing what works!”
“Simplify! That’s the way to truly enjoy the season!”
And, you know, it’s all good.
I’m never going to tell someone they have to send Christmas cards to honor the birth of our Savior. (Though I’m also willing to go on record and say I’ll pass on receiving the Facebook cards or mass e-cards, thankyouverymuch.) Cards are not a reflection of your character or faith.
Likewise, how you decorate or do gifts has little to do with… well, anything.
I’ve said before, though, that we must also be careful about making it seem that, in simplifying, we become spiritually spiritual. That’s also not true. Having a thousand lights strung across the front of your home doesn’t mean you don’t understand the “reason for the season.”
Neither correlation holds any water.
For our part, we do plenty. This much I know. This year? We didn’t get the outdoor lights up. This bums me out on occasion, but it’s just the way it is.
Why didn’t we hang them up? Truthfully, it wasn’t a conscious decision. We, like you, are busy and we chose to get other things done instead. Were they better things? That’s all a matter of opinion. But, again, it is what it is. And I’m okay with it.
But you know what?
That doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate seeing YOUR lights.
We drive around and I smile at all the houses lit up, from the understated to the gaudy. They all bring me great joy. I love the glitter and glimmer and shine and there’s not much that makes my grin wider than the fire engine strung all over with big, colorful bulbs.
Just because I didn’t do it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate it.
And I have to think the same is likely true for others.
We do send out Christmas cards, but I would say we probably only receive them from a quarter of the people to whom we send them. Is that disheartening at times? Sure. But I can also say that I’ve had more than one “non-card-doer” thank me for including them. They appreciate the card.
Just because they didn’t do it doesn’t mean they don’t appreciate it.
So, the next time you read or hear about someone giving up doing something, just go ahead and nod. Acknowledge that this is what works for them and that’s fine. But don’t feel guilty about doing it yourself. Don’t question your own choices. Not only because what you’re doing is right for YOU… but also because there’s a good chance that those who aren’t “doing” this year… are still appreciating.