Do we need a better way to celebrate Christmas?

Between the stress and the cost, are we doing something wrong?

By Kelly Hockenberry, Columnist, The Times

UTKellyColumn copyLast week, I wrote about my angst over Christmas shopping. I stress every year. What size? What color? Will they like it? Will they use it? By the 25th I am a frazzled mess. The funny thing is, my children are always appreciative of any gift they receive. But, I do spend a good amount of time in a looooong, post-holiday return line. I am adamant that unless they LOVE it, it needs to go back. Otherwise, it is one more thing to take up space or collect dust. Not happenin’, people.

There MUST be a better way to celebrate. It seems very impersonal to hand loved ones gift cards or cash. Although it seems to garner a positive response, I just can’t seem to bring myself to do it.

My girlfriends and I were commiserating over how much harder it is to buy for teenagers as opposed to younger children. Remember when opening gifts would take hours worth of time? Now, we are finished in roughly ten minutes and that is only if we force the boys to take turns.

And, the price of Christmas seems to escalate yearly. My younger son wanted the latest video gaming system (which Santa refused to bring). It was over four hundred dollars and games are eighty bucks a piece. Ummmm, NO. But, at the end of the day, all of his “little gifts” resulted in this amount plus some. Ridiculous. Absurd.

Be honest. Who else worries about creating an even number of presents per child? I find myself repetitively counting, Rainman style, to ensure an equal tower per boy under the tree. I have heard that some families (and this may be an urban legend because I certainly don’t know any, personally) who celebrate with the exchange of three gifts in honor of the Wise Men. I like this idea! While the pressure is still on to find that “perfect present”, at least the volume of purchases would decrease.

I must say, my favorite part of Christmas this year was surprising our kids with an upcoming family trip. I would much rather spend money on creating a memory we will have forever rather than a material thing.

What are your favorite holiday traditions? Has your family figured out a way to calm the hustle and bustle? Please share in the Comment section below!

Happy Holiday Weekend!

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