I started working when I was sixteen. Unlike my friends who spent money on nights out partying, dinners or vacations I always believed in spending my money on tangible items. Objects I could hold on to, that would serve me like a sweater that would keep me warm or a car that would get me to school and work, things memories just don’t do. Most of the money went to school but what didn’t went to cars and clothes and computers.
As I got older and had a family of own that I started to change my opinions about the value of things. I began to realize my philosophy was not as great as I thought it was. Life was about living, and not the accumulation of material objects. Objects are never as good as you imagine them; they depreciate in value, break and eventually get thrown away. Memories, on the other hand, stay with you in your mind and heart, and only seem to get better as the years pass by.
I am not sure whether it is the fact that my house looks like a Toys R Us catalogue already or that my husband’s family is just on the same wave length as me, but this year we decided to do things differently. Instead of buying gifts for each other we were going to plan an experience. I mean really, what can you buy that is a reasonably priced gift for someone who they couldn’t already but themselves? In our case specifically, we could not really go on a trip with the three littles by ourselves without it being 99% work.
My father in law and my SIL’s boyfriend are Leafs fans and my husband and his mother are Montreal Canadians fans so we decided to take the family to Montreal to do some sightseeing and go to a hockey game. I can’t tell you how excited I am. Not only will we get to go on a vacation, I will get to do it with family, which is really what Christmas is about.
We are not actually going until February which is when we could all get the time off but that doesn’t matter to us. One thing that does matter is that as Christmas gets closer and closer I realize what a relief it is to not have to worry about buying Christmas gifts for everyone. In fact, everyone likes the idea so much that we were sitting around the kitchen table yesterday night thinking about places we could go in future years and boy was it fun.
Now before you go calling social services, my kids have a huge family to get tons of presents from and his family is still getting (practical) gifts for the kids (after all it is Christmas). Plus my husband and the twins have January birthdays which they will get spoiled on as well.
Whether you think I am crazy or a genius, I hope that by reading this post you will reconsider the way you think about the holidays or even life in general. We have been so much happier since we have put the focus on doing things as a family rather than buying “stuff”. We cancelled the cable and bought a membership to the Science Centre. We go out every day on our days off, even if it’s just for breakfast at Tim Hortons. And at the end of the day, when I collapse in bed, exhausted but happy I think to myself, “if this were my last day I would die with no regrets about how I lived it”.