When I saw the image below posted on my friend's facebook page, it really struck a cord with me. The image is so powerful that I don't feel like I even need to type a post about this, a picture says 1,000 words, but I feel compelled to share my own personal thoughts.
In this nation, even the poorest person is richer than those who are moderately poor in other countries. As Americans, we put too much importance on material goods and take things, like drinking water, for granted. I am guilty of it too, but can you imagine a world where, food, shelter, and water are your number one concerns? Have you ever even seen an American homeless person's rib-cages like that?
The image on the right kind of disgusts me... I like buying presents and getting presents too, but defining your child's happiness based on what gift they get at Christmas is the wrong lesson in life to give. If one's happiness is based on what they own, then they will never be happy. Plus, you will have to store, insure, clean, care for all this stuff... who has the time?
While my parents were here for Thanksgiving, my mom and I were having this very same conversation. I told her that I would be fine if she never bought my future children a single thing. I would rather her save all the money she would buy material goods with and use it to come visit more often or give it to them for college or a car one day. She seemed to agree.
My family of 5 were by no means poor growing up, but for Christmas I remember getting one main gift, a few supplementary smaller gifts, and some clothes and stocking stuffers for Christmas. We opened presents for about 20 minutes on Christmas morning and that was it.
No fault to them or their parents, but some of my nieces and nephews got so tired of opening gifts one year that they actually had to take a break... and I contributed to that. This year I am hopefully giving them stuff that they need or can use to learn something or at least not be staring at a screen to use it.
I can't wait until Christmas, mostly because we will all be together in Colorado spending family time together that is so precious, but also because it is a break from the daily grind of working full time and a great opportunity to relax and realize why we ARE working so hard - to enjoy life with our loved ones!