Our family celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas, so you can imagine how easily things — by which I mean gifts — could get completely out of hand.
But the stores have now closed for Christmas, and with that, we have successfully resisted the siren song of consumer culture — of expensive electronics, little blue Tiffany’s boxes, battery-operated plastic toys, and gag gifts destined for the landfill.
There will be one present for Oliver: a special toy, handmade by a friend of mine. One present for both holidays.
The money we’d have otherwise spent on each other went towards purchasing several grocery store gift cards for needy families. Because no child in such a wealthy country should ever go hungry, least of all at this time of year.
On Christmas morning, Oliver won’t wake up to a pile of brightly-wrapped presents under a tree, but he’ll wake to a loving family and a safe home, which he will one day understand to be more important than all of the expensive presents in the world. We’ll spend the day visiting with friends, Skype-ing with our out-of-town families, and slow cooking a delicious prime rib roast for supper. On Boxing Day, instead of queuing up to buy steeply discounted stuff we don’t need, we’ll enjoy a quiet day of snowshoeing on the mountains.
We have each other. We have a roof over our heads. We have food on our plates and clothes on our backs. We live in a beautiful, safe city in one of the best countries in the world. What more could we possibly ask for?
What are you thankful for this holiday season?