The presents are wrapped.  The party food is bought.  Today’s shipping for my business is done. 

Did we spend as much this year as we have in the past?  Nope.  Does it matter?  Nope.  My New Year’s mantra is “Simplify.  Simplify.”

In the past, I’ve watched as myself and everyone around me run around to get just the right ______ fill in the blank for every person they know.  This is commendable at first glance, yet profoundly silly in hindsight.  Name 3 perfect gifts that you received last year and match the person that gave them to you.   Thinking hard?  I don’t remember too many perfect gifts from the last decade…  That’s not what Christmas has become for me.

Gifts are wonderful, don’t get me wrong.  Bring ’em on!   But don’t charge your credit card or go without rent money to buy them for me.   Please.  Better yet, if it comes down to spending on us or the grandkids before you hit your max, please don’t pick us.   We just want you to be happy…. and debt-free to boot.

What are some of my fondest memories of the last few Christmases?  The traditional Christmas Eve party that is now held at our daughter’s house has many nice memories for me.  Since we moved a half hour away from a good portion of our family to be nearer to my mother (who passed away in September 2007) about 5 years ago, our daughter who lives in our former house with her family,  has taken over the Christmas Eve party that we hosted for many years.   There are no gifts exchanged at this party,  just a lot of eating and being merry.  ALL family is invited, not just a selection.  For some of us this is one of the few times per year that we see some of our family due to life in general getting in the way.  There are no disputes (we were always Switzerland) and some family just drops in on their way to another gathering, but there are really no rules other than no gifts and no squabbles (leave them at the door).

We always take a group photo when the party has reached it’s max.  Some years there were many in the photo, other years due to illness or snowstorm there were few.  I look back on the photos and feel Christmasy, if that’s a word.  There’s no other way to describe it. 

No wrapped present has ever really done that for me. 

How about you?