Last week was Thanksgiving, co-mingled with lots of pre-Christmas shopping, on Thanksgiving, after Thanksgiving, on cyber Monday and before cyber Monday. I didn't engage until late on Sunday afternoon, when I thought I might be missing deals. This year we are on a strict budget. The kids have every electronic known to man, or at least to adults, or at least to me, and I can't imagine they are in need of one more device or screen. Toys are pretty much outgrown in this house and we aren't quite into the luxury teenage items, thankfully. Still, the lists may be lean, but they are a little long. So I found an online guide this year. Each person will be granted 'Something you want, something you need, something to wear, something to read.' It's a perfect formula, especially with four kids. However, I always over-analyze. So here I go. First, everyone has everything they need. I can't imagine them lacking anything or truly needing anything. Do we? Something you want, yes. Something you wear - they are growing so they always need clothes, so that is being merged with something you need. Something to read - I am a reading teacher, so yes, yes, and yes. Now I picture Christmas morning in my mind. I have four grown-ish children, walking down the steps, eyes sleepy but wide with anticipation. "Maybe, just maybe, they got me a car? I did get good grades this year..." After all, I used to have that hope in my eyes too. Christmas-believing really doesn't end when you stop believing in Santa, it's when you wake up to the reality that not everyone gets cars with big red bows for Christmas, and that's really just for fancy commercials. Sorry, kid, no car. I'm not trying to be shallow here, just trying to see Christmas morning through my kids' eyes. They'll eventually come around and the holy awe will fill that spot again. So, Christmas morning, no cars, no bikes, no big ticket video game systems, no Rescue Heroes battle station... Those were big impact Christmases. A few screws and the PlayMobil Pirate Ship came to life and we were Christmas heroes! Not in their eyes, but in our own eyes. No, this year is just a bunch of wrapping paper and red bows, the small ones. So what can I do to make Christmas special? Something Fun! Something that will make them laugh! Something that will make them say, "Wow! It's not a car, but it's pretty darn close. Besides, I don't even drive yet!" So back to the formula - Something you want, something you need, something FUN and something to read! Easy, peasy! I haven't yet found something fun for, well, anybody. What is fun these days? Rubik's cube is more of a headache than fun. A coloring book, one of the cool new ones. There are so many cool ones out there now! They are even toting titles like, Coloring Therapy Books! A camera lens for your phone - really cool! Lessons for cake decorating? Maybe. I have a ways to go to think about this. But this is what really hit me...
I will not be self-gifting this year, either, as I hustle about from store to store. That is definitely not in the budget. No strongly scented candles, no extra bath bombs, no junk jewelry or big bangely bracelets. But, I can give these to myself: something I want, something I need, something fun, and something to read. I can self-gift these things everyday! It may be the only way to get through December. The thing I need is just this - Writing. I love to write. I write in the car. I write when I'm at work. I write when I'm in the shower, in bed, walking the dog. I fantasize about sitting in a coffee shop all day and writing. I have the plan for the sun porch where my desk will sit facing the sun and I can just sit in pajamas and slippers and write all day. I write, just not in black and white. Not on paper. Not on the computer. So it just kind of drifts around in my head. I need to get it down. So that is one gift to myself.
Something I want. I suppress a lot. I want a lot. I want to paint the family room. I want to sit and drink coffee early in the morning and stare out the window. I want to move my desk to the sun porch! I want to take a bath. I want to try curling my hair. I want to try to wear one of those dark new nail colors. I want to drive somewhere peaceful and just get out and take a walk. I think I can do this. Not bad.
Something Fun. I have a hard time having fun. I have responsibilities, but not fun. I have a job, I have a family, I have things to do, but not fun. I'm going to try to have fun. How hard can it be? I'll let you know. See, I can't even write about it!
Something to Read. I love listening to books in the car, when I'm not writing in my head. Even St. Ignatius encourages us to read something everyday. I have a few books from the library stacked next to my bed. I think I can gift myself this way. I think this would not be a bad way to live.
So, in spite of a budget crunch, I'm searching for something special this holiday shopping season. Something fun. Something fun for each of my children. Maybe when I find it, it'll be easier to find fun for them too. Happy Searching - for the perfect gift!