Running the Xmas Gauntlet

Processed with VSCO with a7 presetIt’s the 11th of December and, up until Friday night, I had done absolutely nothing (zip, zilch) to prepare for Christmas. Friday night I went to bed at 7.30pm with a cup of herbal tea, a piece of dark chocolate and my laptop, and finally ordered some Christmas presents. For children, my first stop for gifts is always here. For the girls I like to stick to the little poem: something I want, something I need, something to wear, something to read. It helps to keep things simple and, for me, takes away some of the overwhelm and decision making.

I like to make most of our gifts for extended family and my niece (and this year, my new nephew!) and (if you’re family, stop reading here!) this year I’m trying my hand at these for adults and my usual combo of these and these and perhaps these for kids. Our family have really downsized our present regime over the past few years and now just give small token gifts to show our love and appreciation. My only issue with the adult pressie that I want to make is that I can’t find pine resin here in Australia, and I also don’t know if it is sustainable even if I were to find it… if anyone knows what I’m talking about and has any tips, please email me or comment below! I’m planning on making a little gift set of perhaps two or three for each couple/adult in the fam, just as a token, and because I’m sick of my usual gift of granola!

Yesterday we finally got a tree so I’m feeling like we are back on track. I also sewed a pair of shorts, finished a geranium dress for a friend and tidied my sewing stuff. I just have a few more birdie said orders to get through before I can close up shop for Christmas.

Christmas can be such an overwhelming time. I have friends who feel so much pressure to make things and be all homemade and festive, but they work outside the home and have children and the juggle is stressful. I have friends who spend a lot of money on gifts and give to a lot of people. We all have our own challenges and stressors this time of year. For me, it has been a slowly evolving thing: building traditions within my own family unit, figuring out what works best for us, what we can afford, what we enjoy, what we are and aren’t prepared to do. Figuring out what Christmas means to us, as a non-religious, anti-consumerist family. What is left for us here if we don’t believe in God (in the Christian sense) and we are worried by consumerism!?

For us, it’s simple: family. Time to share and enjoy each other. Time to celebrate giving small and meaningful gifts, and teaching our children about people who are less fortunate than us. A girlfriend of mine has been such a role model for me in this area. Every year she gets her children to choose and wrap and deliver a present to someone in need (whether it is for a shopping centre Christmas tree or other charity). She’s done it with her children well before they would have understood what they were doing, and now it’s so ingrained in them it is something they naturally think about and have empathy for.

I’m not always good at keeping things simple, or sticking to what (I think) we believe in at this time of year. I get stressed and run from here to there. I get caught up with the Jones’s. I do! But I try to patiently bring myself back to my own values and ideals. I guess this happens a lot in life generally, not just at Christmas.

I have more to say on this topic but this will do for today. I’m sitting in our front yard in the shade of the trees while the girls play with dirt and cockatoo feathers. I’m needed to assist with a cup of gum leaf tea so I had better get back to it. I hope all your Christmas plans are going well, if you choose to celebrate it!

Kicking consumerism to the curb

consumerism |kənˈsoōməˌrizəm| : often derogatory the preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods.

It’s Spring, the wind is blowing, and change is headed my way.

It’s time for a lifestyle makeover.

I’ve been sailing my way through maternity leave, and now that Baby is turning 6 months old NEXT WEEK I am feeling the panic start to rise. Where has the time gone? It seems like last week that she was looking up in my general direction with foggy eyes and a floppy little neck. Now she is rolling over, giggling, grabbing, looking at everything, shoving everything in her mouth, sitting up with some support and her personality is glowing.

People all around are starting to talk about going back to work. Some mums in my mother’s group have already gone back to work and their little babies are either in childcare or being looked after by relatives, friends and so on.

I am due to go back to work next March, and it wasn’t until recently that we realised how much we have been relying on the fortnightly baby bonus payment… which is due to finish in a couple of weeks time. Looking back over the last 6 months makes me realise that money was the furthest thing from our minds and really we have still been living as though I was earning an income. If we don’t make a change then I will have to go back to work – much earlier than planned.

Panic stations!!!

I don’t want to have to go back to work any earlier than I have to. This time with Baby is so precious and I don’t want to waste it!

I have been searching the internet left right and centre and have come to the conclusion that a major life re-evaluation is in order! This means a budget, for a start… yes, something we are sadly lacking. And from there, some realigning of values. My goal is to shake the I Want I Want I Want bug, and to be happy with a simpler life. It sounds all lovely and romantic and straightforward, but those of you who also have the I Want bug will know that it’s not so easy to shake.

Step 1: Say bye bye to Soy Lattes. Who wants to buy my Keep Cup for a very reasonable price?

Step 2: New mantra – Baby does not know if she is wearing organic cotton or Op Shop. Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.

This is how we will start.