I’m pretty sure I don’t like Christmas.
I want to learn to knit and sew, to be self-sufficient and I want to do it so I can give knitted scarves and hats for presents. I want to be able to make useful things that won’t cost too much to give away. I want to be generous but I don’t agree with all these spending habits we appear to feel necessary at this time of year.
I want to save money and the environment; I want to feel like I’m giving back by giving presents that will benefit people in a real way. We can live without most of the things in our lives. My other half has shown me brilliantly that life can be enjoyed without the stupidity of wanting what we won’t use. University’s helping me to discover what really matters to me. What I really miss and use. I’m hoping to have got rid of at least 50 items by next September. I already plan to take/let my mother take some of my old fluffy toys to our local Hospital for the kids to play with.
But having grown up with all these useless things – with the jumper I hate but have to wear when that relative comes over; that beautiful watch I never wear because I don’t want to break it. Those revision cards from before my GCSEs which are useless now I’m studying for a degree; and studying a subject that I didn’t do before A levels.
The problem with University is that I feel I could get rid of some of the things I use there if I weren’t there. I wouldn’t need both a PC and a laptop; I wouldn’t need to use so much ink in my printer – wouldn’t necessarily need a printer at all. If I lived with my partner; we could get rid of his printer and just keep mine (or vice versa – but his seems to be more annoying than mine =P).
I’ve grown up with a TV, CD player/radio/cassette player with remote control, PC and bookcase in my room. I’ve never had a games console such as a Gameboy or Playstation; and I don’t want one. My most important possessions include my photographs, my posters, a few select books (like 50 or so =P) and those things with sentimental value. The stuffed toy I inherited from my great-grandmother when she died. The sunshine buddy (solar powered calming nodding toy) (http://www.flairplc.co.uk/pages/sunshinebuddies.shtml ) my S.O. gave me randomly because he understood… well… understands me. My watercolours pencils and a pad of paper. I spend most of my money on biscuits and chocolate because I don’t really NEED anything.
My partner’s family reminds me of the loving family time that’s supposedly the goal of Christmas. I don’t think any family ever has a Christmas gathering without the odd argument. When my father left home 25 years ago, he left his rabbit behind; “OH but that was my brother’s rabbit” Etc.
my partner’s family seem to enjoy each other’s company. I remember the first few times I visited his house; when he and I first started dating – and at every disagreement his parents had, I flinched; waiting for some kind of violence or aggression – but sometimes they were joking – and it would end with a smile and compromise. This behaviour utterly shocked me. I have hope again that I can break my DNA and be my own person. To learn lessons from my love and his life; to choose who I emulate. To kick the memories of my father’s side of the family to the curb and leave them there.
It’s a theory at least.
A phrase I’ve found is not just living simply or frugally, but LIVING EASY. I don’t want to be “running on empty” anymore. I want to be able to rise at a reasonable time and exercise because that’s what I’m motivated to do. Living consciously.
Take some time to be with your family. Or in my case, to visualise myself having time with a family who love and appreciate me.
Have a Blessed Yule and a Merry Blissmas. Give the gift of time.