lifebybri

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Christmas

Christmas

discarded wrappings.
a mess of toys.
tears.
laughter.
excitement.
sleepless nights.

life-by-bri-christmas-2017

if you've been following along for a while you'll know i'm not a religious person (read this for more). christmas has become a strange holiday for me in the last few years. maybe it's living away from my extended family, starting a family of my own, having a daughter born on december 25th or maybe it's simply the fact that the sentiment of christmas doesn't resonate with me.

my eyes welled up with tears when my children woke up this christmas morning and saw the gifts under the tree. tears of joy, happiness, excitement. i love seeing their faces light up.

but without the aspect of the birth of christ, how am i to keep this day about love and joy and not about presents and consumerism?

life-by-bri-christmas-2017
life-by-bri-christmas-2017

i love giving. and i love receiving. but my bank account took a hit this year for the first time around christmas. my children are over-the-moon about their new gifts and i'm not going to turn down the new blender brad gave me but in the aftermath of the christmas morning flurry it all seems a little ... empty.

without something more worth of celebration in our household i'm left feeling a little more than disenchanted with the whole experience. i love trimming the tree, finding the perfect one, putting up decorations, blasting christmas carols in the car, the aspect of bringing everyone together. but this year it seemed to be about little more than getting gifts for my kids.

i was inundated with the stress of finding the perfect present. filling up the stockings to the brim. making the perfect wrapping job, lighting all the candles. and for what? so my children can experience a day full of destroying all the hours i spent wrapping in twenty minutes? so they can be happy for a week or a few days with their new toys? 

and then there's charlotte's birthday to consider. this year it was just the five of us and we thought we'd do christmas in the morning and birthday in the evening. we bit off more than we could chew. it was far too much. too much excitement, too much sugar, too many gifts, too much greed.

life-by-bri-christmas-2017
life-by-bri-christmas-2017

i was inundated with the stress of finding the perfect present. filling up the stockings to the brim. making the perfect wrapping job, lighting all the candles. and for what? so my children can experience a day full of destroying all the hours i spent wrapping in twenty minutes? so they can be happy for a week or a few days with their new toys? 

and then there's charlotte's birthday to consider. this year it was just the five of us and we thought we'd do christmas in the morning and birthday in the evening. we bit off more than we could chew. it was far too much. too much excitement, too much sugar, too many gifts, too much greed.

greed. it seems to be the constant underlying theme this season. without celebrating the birth of jesus and advent and the 'true' meaning of christmas, it has turned in to a celebration of greed. 

i want this. i need that. can i have this? echo through the walls of my home, the store, the car. endlessly.

life-by-bri-christmas-2017
life-by-bri-christmas-2017

perhaps the answer is in moderation. but i've never been one to thrive in that atmosphere. i think, next year, the answer may lie in an entirely different experience of christmas. one of giving and not receiving. one of birthday celebrations of my little girl and a family vacation to a well-loved place. one of love and togetherness and without greed and excessive consumerism. 

i've never really understood why i've celebrated christmas every year of my life. i have never been a believer and since i can remember making that decision for myself, the celebrations always felt a little hollow and strange. we can talk of the celebration of love and family and togetherness and giving all we want but at the end of the day, for a child not raised around the stories of christ, it's about little more than gifts and food and stuff.

is that the kind of holiday i want to be spending thousands of dollars on for my children? or would my time and energy and money be better spent on an experience and a family trip and a meaningful birthday for my daughter? i think we can do better. and there are lots of ways to try and change the meaning of christmas for us non-religious folk - this is one i'm willing to try.


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