Friday evening, my wife and I got a baby sitter for the kids and headed out for the "dreaded" Christmas shopping trip.
Sticking to my guns, we only put together a list of all the folks we needed to buy for. We did not consult with anyone to ask what they wanted. We would look, and if we found something that we knew our friends and relatives liked (within financial reason) we would buy it.
I think I can speak for my wife as well as for me: we had more fun on this shopping trip than we have had in a while. It was fun to walk around and look at stuff and consider what our folks would and wouldn't like. We had to do a little more thinking, but it made the trip more enjoyable.
We bought no gift certificates.
We stayed well within our budget.
There was really no stress or worry trying to find what the other folks "wanted." We got to be creative as we sought out how best to convey to our friends and family our Christmas wishes.
We have also decided to not go overboard with our gift giving. Our children have more toys than they need. Why buy tons of stuff? Why add financial stress to this time of year?
It blows my mind that instead of a season of celebration, many turn it into a season of stress. Perhaps one of the reasons is because we strive to make so many people happy at one time. Haven't we learned by now that it is impossible to make everyone happy? Haven't we learned by now that it is impossible to make even one other person happy?
I love the sign which says, "I can only make one person happy per day. Today is not your day. Tomorrow is not looking good either."
Can you imagine a holiday season where you are not trying to make everyone happy? Can you envision a holiday season where you are concentrating on your own relationship with God and with others despite how everyone else might respond to you? Imagine a holiday seasons where you aren't worried about how someone will respond to your gift but are satisfied with the thought and effort you put into getting what you got. Imagine a holiday season where you aren't stressing believing it is your responsibility to make everyone smile and rejoice, and instead you believed that their happiness was up to them. Imagine a holiday season where you gave to others because you wanted to instead of feeling an obligation to.
What would such a season be like? Would you enjoy it more? Would you feel like you had a chance to marvel at the events you were supposed to be celebrating? Think about it some.