This Christmas panic has been threatening to set in. I am not great at Christmas, most of my family are vegetarians and we can never figure out what we want as gifts and then I get some mad-ass anxiety with the shopping and the organising and the feeling of being tricked by marketers. Our eldest son has his birthday in early December so he tree doesn’t go up on the first, we aren’t religious in any particular fashion so no matter where the roots of the tradition lie we haven’t got the ownership of the holiday in this way.
I asked the boys what they wanted for Christmas and apart from a light saber (he already has one but it is a Sith one and he wants a Jedi one- a moot point as I have confiscated them both as it seems the Dark Side of the Force compels them to beat each other around the head) I have been given no ideas. We live in a country of plenty and abundance. We don’t go without and generally get things as the desire takes us.
So it has been hard to get motivated to force myself to go shopping, (which I detest) to buy presents for people (that I love) that neither want or need them.
Earlier today I found out that our younger son (who is extremely canny- to a fault!) had been so keen on boosting his money box to a round figure of 4100 that he had sold the end of a candy cane to his brother for $2.
I asked why he wanted the money and it was “in case he found something he wanted to buy” and we had a talk about fleecing his beloved older brother for money he didn’t need, how family is more important than money and about how much that money he had been saving for no particular purpose could help others.
We had bought a second hand car from auction in “as is” condition. So “as is” it was full of rubbish and old work clothes and a lot of small change. Just abandoned. I don’t want our boys to grow up with an “easy come easy go” wasteful attitude like the former owner of this car OR an obsession with accumulating pointlessly so I showed them the Oxfam Unwrapped website, I showed them the monetary values that Oxfam had attributed to different things people needed and the little man who had tricked his brother out of $2 suddenly announced he wanted to buy water for a south African School. NOW!
After some counting out of the money we found in the car and some hefty raiding of money boxes by the children (including fifty cent piece Miss Boo (now 3 years old) had been carting around as her beloved treasure) we had $46 towards the unwrapped gift and the shortfall has been met by the parental pocket.
It was an amazing thing to see the understanding dawn on our children and the passion for what is right take over their desire for things. They saw that education for women was mentioned and told me about what they had heard about women’s rights overseas. Master Button (now 7) took this to the extreme and now wants to fund a vigilante army to take down the Taliban and has plans to start various fundraisers with this in mind! I admire his fierce lust for justice in the world but fear it needs a wee bit of tempering before being let loose. It never ceases to amaze me where children’s enthusiasm will go with a bit of gentle nudging.
It was accidentally one of the most educational, bonding and heartwarming experiences of the year.
There are still 2 days left to buy an Oxfam Unwrapped gift this Christmas. Why not start some meaningful discussions in your family and send some of your Christmas Spending where it will make a difference and possibly save an actual life? That’s a present with a lot of thought behind it.That’s what the Spirit of Christmas means to us.