We never had big Christmases. My parents didn’t allow us to ask Santa for a long list of gifts. My mother’s rule was, you can ask Santa for one big gift and two small gifts. My mother taught us that it would be greedy to ask for more. I remember one Christmas, when I was about my son’s age of 9, I realized my friends asked for and received a lot more from Santa than I did. ”Why was he unfair?” I asked my mother.
My mom explained that our family received what we needed each Christmas, and although our Christmases were small, that each gift was special. Each gift was thoughtfully chosen and given with love. It didn’t matter what my friends received, it mattered that we had a spirit of gratitude and love on Christmas day.
Since I have had my own family, I have come to realize how right my mother was. One year my husband and I both received large(r) Christmas bonuses. Feeling flush and festive, we purchased our children more gifts than usual. The morning felt frenetic. My kids tore open their gifts, and seemed overwhelmed by what they had received. That Christmas just wasn’t the same.
A small Christmas doesn’t have to mean less. When small is done with love, it can truly be sweet.