Time to have “The Talk” about Christmas

304 words. 3 minutes to read.

Christmas gifts from relatives and friends are always awkward.

Will they spend too much? Too little? Am I a cheapskate?

Are they going to buy something horrible and tasteless I have to pretend I like?

Am I going to get yet another pair of Homer Simpson socks?

Homer Simpson socks

Homer Simpson socks…do you REALLY need another pair?

It’s time to have The Talk.

Years ago, my brother and I agreed to stop buying each other Christmas gifts. It was a great decision that has made my Christmas better every year since.

We’ve both saved a lot of money and a lot of stress of having to work out what the other wants and likes.

Now, as adults who have pretty much everything we need, The Talk has saved us buying useless stuff that neither of us needs.

Over time, I’ve had The Talk with friends and other family members. I receive few gifts at Christmas, and it makes me much happier. I don’t feel indebted to anyone, and I don’t receive stuff I don’t want or need.

Likewise, we’ve encouraged our children to not buy each other gifts at Christmas and birthdays.

It has been a breath of fresh air in our lives.

Christmas should be about family getting together and sharing good times. If you’re religious, it’s about Church and Christ.

It should never be about guilt, consumerism and stress.

Chances are that some of your loved ones would love to have a No Gifts policy with you, they’re just not ready to take the first step. They’re afraid of what you might think. They’re afraid you might think they’re a cheapskate.

So be brave. Make your lives better. Quit the craziness. Find some peace this holidays.

Isn’t is time for you to have The Talk with people you love this Christmas?

Isn't it time you had The Talk?

Isn’t it time you had The Talk?

Treasure moments, not stuff.

320 words. 3 minutes to read.

My son turns 13 this week. He’s almost taller than me.

It seems no time since we brought him home from the hospital. He was so tiny, all swaddled up, his eyes so dark, his eyelashes so long. He was the most beautiful baby imaginable. I was immediately besotted.

I think every parent feels this way about their baby, when we meet our child for the first time.

He’s turning 13 now, and I’m very proud of the man he is growing to be.

We’ve had a bumpy road – a diagnosis of autism (Asperger syndrome), which has developed into him just being an extreme geek with a strong talent for anything computer-related. He’s doing very well at school, he has a strong family, friends that care.

Life is good right now.

Things haven’t been easy, but when I look at the hurdles we’ve jumped, I know that they are easier than some other families have dealt with.

I also know that these same hurdles have given us purpose and a strong relationship between us that will stand us firm in the years to come.

When I look back on our time with him so far – the time he has been alive on this world – it hasn’t been the stuff that made life great. It has been the moments.

His first day of kindergarten.
His first day of school.
His first fight.
Him making friends, and sometimes losing them.
The times we’ve shared an in-joke, or just relaxed at the beach with an ice cream.
The hugs at night, when I tuck him into bed, and tell him I love him.

All of it learning, growing, changing.

I’m speaking from the perspective of a parent proud of her son, but the lesson holds true for all of us: Treasure moments, not stuff. Life is short.

Spend your energy where it will bloom. Then you’ll see the roses grow 🙂

Treasure moments, not stuff

Life is short. Treasure moments, not stuff.