I am not really a fan of Christmas. Surprised? Of course you’re not. You know what people like about Christmas? The good will. The gathering of those closest to you, sharing time, laughter, coming together to warm each other on the long cold dark nights. My friend Alex put it better.

This year I was pleased to discover that I didn’t get much in the way of presents. Well conventional store bought presents that is. I got a lot of gifts. In fact my Christmas was almost out of the pages of one of my favorite stories ‘Little House on the Prarie’. I got handmade caramels and lip gloss made of beeswax and oil in reused tins. I got relish and beets and bread. I came home from my parents house with more food than plastic and that made me feel incredibly good.

Instead of gifts this year I gave donations. Some might say that spoils the fun but I did handpick small gifts for my family members. A pair of handmade earrings from a local artisan, an old comic book found in a thrift store and an album none of us has heard in over a decade that brought tears to my father’s eyes and cost a dollar. My money didn’t go to some big box department store it went to my local YMCA to send a kid to camp and to my hospital thrift sellar. My brother’s do not want for anything and at least one of them appreciated the gesture so that he might do the same next year.

We simplified Christmas by not making it about expensive extravagant gifts and instead about the thought, the time and the intention. Even my kids came home with less stuff than they have in the past. They were thrilled with what they got and probably would have be thrilled with even less. Because really next time I have to buy a gift for a niece or nephew I am going to wrap a box that I tacked a steering wheel to the inside of and drew wheels on the outside. I’m pretty sure they’ll love it.