This week, Matt and I took a walk. Crunchy leaves echoed in our ears. Our kids’ cheeks pink from the cool air. The neighborhood was quiet. And we start to reminiscence…
My heart was racing from excitement. The magic was about to occur.
It was 1995. I was cozy in my fleece PJs and big floppy slippers. My long hair, braided while it was still wet, is a bit curly now, pulled lose from where it was placed. The house is quiet. My sister asleep above me, my other sister in the next room, and my parents door was cracked open. I get out of bed, jump across the creaky part of the hallway, and tiptoed down the stairs.
The tree sparkles with light. There were tiny white dots reflected on the walls. It was quiet. I could hardly stand it.
I barely managed to wait, but hours later, we would hold candles with our friends and sing Silent Night. We would eat a feast of a dinner. We would pass out the gifts. We would open them, take photos, and then head to bed. .
Each year, it was magic. Then a decade passed. And something happened.
December gradually wasn’t very magical. It was actually kinda stressful. This thing, that thing, budgeting, overspending, tons of stuff, weight gain, exhaustion. Fatigue.
We became so frustrated. What happened to the glow? It felt just out of reach. Like there was one more secret thing to get the magic. That maybe one more gift slightly more generous. One more new cookie. One more get together. Something must bring it back. But the years of trying made it worse. December became dark and depressing. Winter felt bleak. Even a bit dreaded. What did I do wrong? Where did I stray?
Something had to change.
We all have enough. More than enough. We have excess. So this is kinda tricky.
Walking into a store became overwhelming. Walking into a mall was just asking for a panic attack. And online buzz words made it hard to quit wanting and buying. So we shut it all down.
We made a change.
We will get all our gifts in November. We will be sneaky, we will be intentional, we will enjoy the extra time to find something wonderful. Ethical. Empowering. And then we will be done. We won’t buy in December. No last minute deals or lowest prices or more more more.
I love to give. As in I literally get goosebumps spoiling other people. But I am getting better at reigning that in. Being wise. Fighting the impulse of MORE. Shutting down the lies that the MORE is all right in December because it’s out of love and generosity. But you know what. It needs to respect others too. Respect their right to simplicity. Respect their own fight against excess. Respect the millions that don’t have enough water or food and my enough is still excess.
A simple tree. A few cookies. The friends that need love and the family that loves us. Focus.
The joy is coming back. That glow is returning. It’s magical to give someone a gift that empowered another person across the world to live freely. It’s magical to unplug and unspend and just be still. It’s healing my soul to push against my desire for more and accept enough. Enough is MORE than enough.
December is coming. I love to give. And I am going to fight to give radical. Generous selfless moments adding up to a life of simplicity. Today is all I have so I will use it wisely. I will celebrate and love in a way that is honoring to my faith and to the world.
Simple love. And that should be enough.