Then & Now

I struggle with Christmas. It’s not so much of the hustle and bustle during a time that’s supposed to be relaxing, I can handle that; It’s the gift giving and consumerism part of it I have a hard time with. When it comes down to it, I don’t want to raise my children to be greedy little bitches. And shit, I don’t want all the praise going to some fake fat bearded guy when I was the one who worked hard to put Thomas the god damn train under the tree. Okay, I joke about the latter but I’m not joking about the greedy little bitches. The reality of it all is that family is the greatest gift of all. I know, because I was young and dumb, that muchkins or even teenagers for that matter can’t quite grasp the maturity that’s behind that statement. I’m wondering how to start instilling the gift of love and family early on. Willy and I have always been kinda scrougey during the holidays. We never celebrate Valentine’s Day. And it’s not because we don’t love each other. I love Willy with my entire heart. He’s my best friend. We’ve always felt Christmas and Valentine’s Day were centered around consumerism instead of actual love. So how do you replace the gifts with love?
Before we had kids, Willy and I would travel during Christmas time. It worked out best because it was the only time we would have off work or school. We spent one year in the Dominican Republic and another year in Nicaragua. It’s interesting to compare Christmas here to Christmas in countries where greed and consumerism hasn’t taken over. In the Dominican, there was one celebration and everyone in the town was there. They played music and danced, but there were no gifts. In fact, we were the only ones handing out baseball cards and little trinkets to the kids that we had brought from the states.
I’m wondering if we should start a family tradition of traveling for Christmas. Going through old pictures is watering a seed that has been sitting there for sometime. It sounds dreamy. And I’ve been itching to put a backpack on these rusty shoulders of mine. But I don’t want to ruin it either. What kid doesn’t have the fondest memories of waking up to find out Santa had been there the night before.
Your thoughts?
In any event, we had a nice Christmas. Hooper slept on our drive up to Santa Barbara (he’s such a trooper in the car) and Van greeted everyone with smiles and the occasional spit up. Hooper has yet to catch on to the whole present idea anyway so I figure we have another year to figure it all out. We didn’t buy the boys anything this year. Hooper had a good time opening his “prizes” from the advent calendar and he opened a few gifts from our very generous relatives. He woke up the morning after and went straight back to his cars anyhow. 

I can’t begin to tell you what these photos, these memories, do to my soul.
Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

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6 Responses

  • wow . . i love these pictures . . and so different from the ones you usually show here . . they are great !!

    i don’t have kids, but i think traveling during christmas is THE GREATEST IDEA . . in my opinion, it’s an excellent gift . . you can give them symbolic presents too, so that they don’t miss that part . .

  • I couldn’t agree with you more about replacing consumerism with love. It’s tough, but I know you and Willy will figure something out. And these photos? Seriously? Love. They belong in a travel magazine.

  • Really cool idea. I love the thought of waking up on Xmas morning knowing that we’d be boarding a plane to some dreamy destination — and not taking my crazy mother in law with me 😉

  • The present thing is a tough one, we struggled with that this year and bought way too much (our baby’s first Christmas), that she really couldn’t have cared less about anyway. I think we’re going to go for one good present and some stocking presents and try to limit it to that. With the amount of technological stuff around these days I want to try to avoid having Amelie ask for an iPad at 3.

  • My partner agrees with you. He wishes we could move away from the Christmas celebration, especially the “lie” that is Santa Claus. I on the other hand believe values are taught all the time, and aren’t completely overshadowed by a single day of indulgence or pretending something magical is going on. For my whole life, Christmas has been consumer-driven and yet what has stuck with me are the family traditions. I think what has helped that is how my family celebrates St. Nicholas day, St. Lucia day, Advent, Christmas day, twelve days of giving AFTER Christmas, and Epiphany dinner. Christmas isn’t some holiday event, it’s a piece in many weeks of family tradition. All that being said, I love travel too. 🙂


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