Ideals are wonderful things. We aspire to them, fall in love with them, bond over them. And Bloom's post here (great post!) gave me a lot to think about this morning.
This year I set out to hand-make most of our Christmas gifts and have thoroughly enjoyed almost all of my creating. This wasn't an issue of principal for me; I wasn't fighting against the commercialization of Christmas or shunning less natural materials or even trying to bring our focus back to the true meaning of Christmas (I wish I could claim that one, though). Nope, nothing that lofty. We simply don't have the budget for a store bought Christmas and I set out to use only materials I already had on hand as much as possible (recall the strange color combinations on the felt bags in a previous post?). :)
And, to be completely honest, I didn't relish every moment of designing, cutting, sewing, decoupaging, or gluing. There were evenings after the kids went down and I sat down to work on a project without a whole lot of enthusiasm. Thank goodness for my sweet husband's appreciation and encouragement of my efforts or I might have given up. But once I got started I always found my groove and remembered all the reasons I had chosen a specific project for a loved one. I could imagine why they would appreciate the love and time I put in...I was off and running again.
But, for the record, I lovelovelove a good shopping spree at the mall. I mean, I really love shopping at the mall. A girlfriend and I (before kids) made an annual pilgrimage to the outlet malls and shopped through our extensive Christmas lists. Considering that there are now small children, shrunken budgets, and a new sort of self-consciousness about spending in this economy, it's not surprising that so many of us are finding ways to simplify Christmas. I did still buy the kids toys from the store because I know they'll love them. I might have time to make them a little something from Mommy to join the Santa gifts under the tree Christmas morning. But considering the fact that I make quilts, clothes & crafts for them, and spend all kinds of time encouraging their creativity throughout the year, I think it will be just fine that they don't get a 100% homemade Christmas.
In short, I hope you are able to enjoy family and friends, good food and laughs, maybe a few glasses of wine, and if you're so inclined even go to church this Christmas. We can always revisit principals in January. I'm off to eat a little too much, drink some wine, and have fun with the last couple gifts I'm whipping up.