Monday, December 21, 2009

Simple Livin'

Our neighborhood is shimmering with twinkly lights; I'm addicted to the radio station that plays non-stop Christmas music; and Hadley and I made peppermint bark this afternoon. We are saturated in holiday spirit around here, and everything seems to sparkle just a little more now that we have Hadley.

Hadley also makes us think about all kinds of stuff that we've never had to consider. What traditions do we want to create for our family? What will we teach Hadley by the way we celebrate Christmas? Will she learn to love Target or love God?

Thankfully, babies are designed to be relatively oblivious to certain things (though not to power cords, outlets or fireplaces), so we have a little time to figure out these answers. But I do think that how people celebrate Christmas is a real reflection of how they view themselves in the world; Christmas somehow draws out who each of us is--for better or worse. Me, I tend to get caught up in the to-do list in the weeks leading up to Christmas, which is no surprise: I'm task-oriented. I like to accomplish things, even if those things are shopping for gifts and wrapping them up. So my challenge is to breathe in the spirit and inspiration for gift-giving, not simply to check off my list.

Which brings me to one thought I've been pondering lately: gifts. I'm not a proponent of the "more is better" philosophy when it comes to gifts. I don't much care how many presents I have to open; even when I was a kid, that wasn't very important to me. Because my parents are very thoughtful gift-givers, I always felt the thrill of opening a gift that was just right (even if it hadn't even occurred to me to ask for it). So I learned the joy and grace of receiving without learning to expect bunches and bunches of stuff.

That's what I want Hadley to learn. Oh, I want her to feel the joy of waking up Christmas morning and seeing her stocking full. I want her to feel the thrill of anticipation. But I also want her to appreciate simplicity. More baubles don't make for a merrier Christmas--and sometimes make for a less merry Christmas.

After all, God didn't give us tons of gifts on Christmas Day. He gave us one perfect gift. The only gift we needed. It's that spirit that I want Hadley to embrace, and somehow, piles of gifts tend to obscure our view of the manger.

So Hadley is getting a couple of goodies from us this year: a wagon (with super-cool, all-terrain wheels for the rugged Colorado backcountry) and an activity table that will, I hope, distract her from pulling herself up on the coffee table and reaching for the TV remote, which is her favorite pastime.

As for us, well, we already got our gift this year. And she's just right.


  1. Very nicely stated. I am and always have been in the spirit to give than receive. I loved seeing Jason and Crystal on Christmas Eve after we got home from church, their anticipation was over, and Santa had come. But I also agree we need to remember the true meaning of Christmas, and seeing Jason and Crystal portraying the Christmas story in their program at church was always heart warming. We are anxious to come and share Christmas with you three! See you soon!

  2. Yay for the Christmas season! Yay for seeing you guys Saturday!

  3. This is beautiful Hilary! :) XOXOXO