discovering a simpiler life

discovering a simpiler life

Friday, 13 December 2013

The christmas gift most worth giving can be free

I love Christmas.  There I've said it.  I've been lucky enough to have wonderful memories of the day spent with loved ones.  I love the food and the giving and the nana nap with a tummy bursting at the seams.  I always feel content and happy on Christmas day.  Now that I've grown and have my own child who has the innocence still surrounding Christmas, it really is a magical time of year.  It really makes me sad that you hear all the time, "Oh I'm too busy for Christmas" or "I can't wait for it to be over".  I think the pressure people have come to put on the giving at Christmas is to blame, wouldn't it be great if there really was a big fat man who came down the chimney and left us a barrel load of presents!?  

Christmas is so different now compared to when I was young (oh my god! Did I just say that....)It was all about the presents and being huddled around the tree taking turns opening them.  I remember having to wait and wait for that special something I desperately wanted Santa to bring.  There is one Christmas I remember vividly, I think I was around 6 or 7 years old. I ran down the long hall to the lounge room, around the corner and to the tree and was sadly disappointed there was no pretty pink bike with glittery tassels hanging from the handle bars.  But then, Mum said, whats that behind you? And there it was.  My bike. Today our children don't have to wait for a thing and I've been guilty as charged.  Roll on 20 years and thanks to Mr.Mastercard, Australians will reportedly spend upwards of 700 million dollars.  I don't know about you but my stomach just flipped.  And sadly to make it even scarier, it will be on a huge number of unwanted gifts given by well meaning family and friends.  Do you even remember what you got last year? 

I'm quite old fashioned when it comes to Christmas, I still prefer to hand write Christmas cards and sending a text or emailing is fine as well.  But its cards that really make if feel like Christmas.  Having my mantle heaving under their weight warms my heart, and to consider having it bare would make me sad.  Not that I count them or hold a grudge for not getting them off friends, its more a feeling they give me as a Christmas tradition.  I've an old work colleague who I actually haven't seen in 17 years but we exchange cards every year at Christmas.  I'd be so disappointed to not get his card if one year he decided to stop, I'd still send it.  My nan exchanges  a Christmas card with a man in Italy who she met as a teenager during wartime in Australia.  Its just a lovely thought that at this time of year it doesn't matter that you haven't seen nor heard from loved ones or dear friends but its the Christmas excuse of the card that allows all to be forgiven. This year I did think of forgoing the tradition, but I just can't.  I enjoy the ritual of sitting down and going through the motions.

This year I've down sized the amount we spend at Christmas and it really hasn't been that hard.  Its not just because I'm being a tight arse either. Nor is it with much thought about landfill waste or our carbon footprint. I've focused on instead on replacing thoughtless gifts given for the sake of it with thoughtful gifts. No, I don't mean being a Scrooge or dare I say it regifting! If you have been reading my blog you will have seen some of what I'm making my loved ones in the way of edible gifts but one thing that is free that I'm doing for my closest family is an appreciation letter.  

When you think about it, all anyone wants is to be truly valued and felt appreciated and loved.  To be told is very foreign to many of us and to actually take the time to sit and write a few words about a loved one and why you cherish them is really a beautiful thing.  I will admit to feeling a little dorky writing it down but I remember my hubby and I did it for our Wedding anniversary this year and it really felt wonderful as both the giver and the receiver. It can just be added to the poor forgotten left hand side of the Christmas Card that is always left blank or on some paper that can be saved and read over and over again. It may be free but its value and warmth will be priceless.

Would you consider doing an appreciation letter for a loved one this year?  Have you ever been guilty of regifting?   

Ciao, Jan.

This post is dedicated to my dear friend Robyn who sadly lost her mother a week ago.  My thoughts and prayers are with you at this very sad time. 
Much love Jan xxx


  1. What a lovely thoughtful post Jan - really felt the warmth you put into it.

    We have this tradition at the christmas table when we're seated; reflect on the year and talk about what's brought each of us joy or satisfaction or affected us. We focus on one person at a time and don't move on to the next until they're finished. It's 'their' moment and no one can interrupt! It usually ends up with father and me (after our talk) offering thanks and praise for each of the kids and for who they are and for what they do. It's all very warm, touching and often tears are shed. So instead of appreciation letters, we verbalize it on the day. It's lovely.

    Love your connection with xmas cards. Makes a lot of sense. Mariana x

  2. Thanks Mariana x

    What a beautiful tradition you have. I don't think my lot could get through that without crying and some of the men find verbalising tricky. Thats whats so lovely about your own family traditions, you do what works for you. I hope you have a wonderful christmas day, and knowing you I bet you put on a delicious spread :D Jan x

  3. Haha - for the first time ever I made a christmas menu together with pics (all mine of course) and emailed it to the whole family - I asked if they were happy with the menu (all very elaborate as you can imagine) and was there anything missing that they'd like. Received an email from Hubby last night saying "lollies and chockies" - bluddy hell! Now that's asking for just too much - hahaha!

    1. some people just want everything don't they Mariana!! :D lucky for him, I bet you accommodate his request x

  4. Hi Jan

    I've been reading your blog for a while but my first comment today (will try harder in the future as I do enjoy your posts!)

    I have written many appreciation letters recently. Earlier this year I found out I had breast cancer, subsequently had a mastectomy and chemotherapy, and I have found such joy and support from my beautiful family and friends that when I was nearing the end of my treatment I picked out the ones who had given me the most special support (I had a closed group on Facebook and some particular friends had written the most beautifully supportive comments, I called them my Awesome Foursome, they were the firsts to get their small gifts and cards, then I moved on from there - the one I have not yet done is my husband as I planned to take him away for a night but it just hasn't happened yet, he will get a special letter with his Christmas present).

    Your idea of an appreciation letter is such a wonderful idea and one that we should all adopt, but I also love the first commenter's great family tradition as well!

    Judy xx

    1. Hi Judy,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment on my blog :) I really do appreciate it.

      What a rough year you have had with illness. It is amazing to me, living with illness myself, how many blessings we can find in such difficult times. It really makes you look for meaning in your life and appreciate the people around you who love and support you no matter what life throws at us. Its such a gift to tell them how we really feel about them isn't it.

      Wishing you all the best and I bet hubby will love his letter.
      Warm regards,
      Jan xx


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