For the past several years, especially since getting married, I couldn’t wait to be home for Christmas. Holiday parties, tree decorating, huge meals, and of course, endless shopping for gifts. And though I’m still excited about those things, it’s on a completely different level than I could have ever imagined.
As life has taken on a deeper meaning for us we find the things which once brought us happiness don’t quite cut it anymore. I can no longer find genuine serenity in a day at the mall followed by a meal at some overpriced franchise restaurant. Just as the idea of purchasing a lot of ‘stuff’ for the man who has everything doesn’t feel like the way Christmas should be spent. Yes, of course we’ll exchange gifts, but it certainly won’t be our priority.
After Sultana (the rescue dog from Kuwait) came to us in late October, it was a stark reminder that some things are far more important than material items. She’s certainly come a long way from where she must have been a year ago, but we still see signs of senseless abuse. Cowering her head when we reach to pet her, the obvious break in her tail, and the worn broken teeth. Yet with all of that she’s the most kind, soft, loving dog ever. The look in her eyes is that of a dog whose spirit has been broken over and over. Yet her ability to show us such unconditional love and trust is a true lesson. She keeps us grounded. And, well, she’s given me a totally unexpected Christmas present. Puppies!
So, this year around our house won’t look like a picture on a postcard. No extensive decorations, no tree with hundreds of gifts, and maybe not even a big turkey dinner (trying to convince hubby to do a movie and Chinese food). Instead we’ve decided to attend charity galas and dinners, purchase gifts for those in need (from local small businesses), and donate time and items to our local animal shelter. It actually feels like Christmas is supposed to feel. We’ve even encouraged the family and some friends to get involved so we’ll be doing what we love with those we love.
Yeah, it sounds a bit crazy, even to me. I couldn’t wait to get home for Christmas! I was so excited for my husband to experience a typical American Christmas. But as the months have passed and we’ve embraced the more simple (yet more valuable) things in life I knew that idea of a ‘typical Christmas’ was slowly changing. Eventually you get to a point where you realize there’s not much else your spouse can buy for you (though I am hinting at another house built on our land), and there’s really nothing material that your spouse needs. Love becomes deeper and more meaningful than a wrapped box. And what better year to start new traditions than our first one living in America together? So here’s to a great year of giving while managing to incorporate a little commercial style Christmas in the mix!
I haven’t uploaded any holiday appropriate photos for this post, so… puppies!