What Your Family Really Wants for Christmas

I’ve been thinking about whether or not to write this post, as I’ve found myself facing a bit of writer’s block over the last few weeks.  See, here’s the thing.  This is the time of year when NEITHER healthy eating NOR frugality are super popular concepts.  I’m sure I could try to drum something up, but even I don’t want to hear it. I just want some eggnog and a cookie. Leave me alone.

Moreover, I can be a bit of a Scrooge when it comes to gift giving because I get frustrated at the enormous distraction that commercialism is during a season that SHOULD focus on Christ.

Here’s a story.

Our first Christmas in Papua New Guinea was seven years ago, and I was homesick. I was missing family, friends, cool weather, car commercials of Hondas with giant bows, and sale flyers. I missed it all.  I had a pity party. I pretended that I was the first girl ever in the history of the world to be away from home at Christmas.

I pouted.

And then I remembered that the very first Christmas, the one in which our Lord was born, was basically all about someone being FAR from home on Christmas.  Jesus spent every Christmas separated by universes, dimensions, and skin cells from His Father.

And He did it so that He could bring us presence.

Yes, I spelled it correctly.  PRESENCE. HIS PRESENCE. (I do love a good holiday pun!)

That realization kind of rocked me to the core when I thought about it while overlooking the lush, green highlands of Papua New Guinea. Because His presence, deep and sustaining, is what we all really crave.

But yesterday morning, I had the same realization again as my three year old came to the computer while I Cyber-Mondayed.  She put her small, still ever-so-slightly pudgy hands on my typing claw, and yanked it.

Off the keyboard. Away from the screen.

Frustrated at being interrupted, I said, “I’m trying to buy you presents! Don’t you want presents?”

She said in her determined voice. “I DON’T WANT PRESENTS. I just want you to come play with me!!”

And then she pouted.  Cue the guilt trip.

She doesn’t want presents; she wants presence. My presence.  She just wants to be with me, enjoying my company.  And I should want the same thing, shouldn’t I?

Lately, it seems that I cannot wrap my arms, hands, and brain around all the life around me because of the glowing boxes that tug, pull, and tempt me away. During Summer of 7, I fasted from media for only a week, and it barely took a few days to comprehend the tremendous glut of information my greedy eyes feast on daily and hourly.

Christmas, American style, seems to make it all worse.  While I may desperately need the silent night and the stillness, instead, I gulp down screens, social media, and coupons codes that create deplorable distance from my family, friends, and my own little followers.  I try to replace my PRESENCE with PRESENTS. I try to replace HIS PRESENCE with likes, fans, and affirmation of a very shallow sort. (You know I love you, but let’s just face it; this IS NOT our real life.)

So, I’m taking this Christmas season off from blogging. I may run some old posts through the Facebook page, so you can follow there if you want to keep up, but I just don’t want to feel drawn to give YOU my presence when there are small people under my roof wanting to make cookies.

I’m going to try soaking in the PRESENCE of the one who made a very long trip from His heavenly home to make himself known to me.

John 1:14  (NIRV) The Word became a human being. He made his home with us. We have seen his glory. It is the glory of the one and only Son.He came from the Father. And he was full of grace and truth.

Christmas 2009

AND, I’m going to try to offer my presence, my focus, my attention, and my time to those who are in my real life.And I’m thinking it might be the eensiest bit uncomfortable, like detox.

What about you? Want to join me in logging off, unplugging, and making our home, at home?

I’m linking this post with Tuesdays Unwrapped over at Chatting at the Sky. Check it out!

22 Responses to What Your Family Really Wants for Christmas

  1. Aunt Kathy November 27, 2012 at 9:20 pm #

    While I will miss your writing, I am 100% behind your decision to spend time with your children this time of year. They grow up too, too fast and you need to enjoy them while you can. (Okay, so “enjoy” might be stretching it when they’re cranky or naughty, but you know what I mean.) It seems like only yesterday that YOU were a little kid wanting the attention of your mom and me at your grandma’s house at Christmas. Happy memories…. Go make more memories with your kids. We’ll be here in January. :)

    • amy November 27, 2012 at 10:26 pm #

      great post! I too find it hard sometimes to pull myself away from the “glowing boxes”. I like to think of it as my “me” time but it takes up alot of time from my little ones too. We recently moved and have not yet set up any TVs in the house( slow to unpack and indecisive on furniture arrangement). So far its been 6 weeks- with no TV in the house! at first i thought the kids were going to have it hard, but they haven’t been bothered too much and my husband and i are getting more unpacking accomlished and enjoy the quiet!!

      • Katrina November 28, 2012 at 7:18 am #

        The computer is the biggest problem, and it is trickier to just “turn off” when so much of our world is here. Nonetheless, I want to make sure my online time is minimal and my FACE time is a bit more. :)

  2. beth@redandhoney November 27, 2012 at 11:13 pm #

    Good for you, Katrina. Your family will love the extra time with you. You are brave to step away from the ever-entangling web!

    • Katrina November 28, 2012 at 7:19 am #

      I don’t know if it is bravery or just an excuse for writer’s block. 😉 Thanks for reading.

  3. dee m November 28, 2012 at 7:52 am #

    You have such a beautiful family. Wishing you amazing fun – full – filled days with your little ones without blogging, logging in and unplugging from us blog followers… :) We often wish our three grown daughters were little again… they are all grown and living out of state. Our time together is so precious. Our oldest is now engaged and soon to begin another journey next spring.

    The last several years my husband and I and our three daughters have stopped “buying” gifts.. we do homemade gift giving.. we have so much fun with this, Our creative juices flow in many directions ….sewing, painting, canning, candy making, woodworking, candles, medicinal tinctures, etc, etc…. this Christmas we are meeting several hours from each of our homes in the Allegheny Mts. at my folks home, where there is no tv, no phone reception, just peacefull surroundings, the backyard ends at the Allegheny River where eagles frequent, occasional deer cross… cherished memories linger and new memories will fill our hearts… my folks passed a few yrs back…. we are there in the nicer weather months, this will be the first time in awhile that we are there in the winter… we are all on countdown…. :)

    • Katrina November 28, 2012 at 7:56 am #

      Dee, that sounds absolutely BLISSFUL! As to making homemade presents, I’m on baby steps with that. This year, I’m starting with just trying to be “home” and maybe by the time I have adult children I’ll have the patience to try making gifts. :) I guess granola and pumpkin cookies is a start, right?

  4. Joye November 28, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    I wish you could have just heard all the excuses in my head of why I don’t need to/can’t disconnect. Uh oh. I’m pretty sure that means that I really need to…

  5. Rebecca December 2, 2012 at 2:43 am #

    Blessings to you and your family!

  6. Sandy December 2, 2012 at 1:51 pm #

    So glad I read this on the first day of Advent. May the Lord help me really take it to heart and act! Amen and amen! God bless you and your family as you spend Advent together!

  7. Jan December 2, 2012 at 3:08 pm #

    I think you are a great mother and wife. Everyone gets caught up in life and things going on around them.So brush your hands and do what you need to. I hope you have a great Christmas and New Year. We believe in you!

  8. Christa the BabbyMama December 3, 2012 at 7:28 pm #

    Unfortunately, my three year old wants my presence in equal measure with presents, and our relatives are happy to deliver. We keep Christmas modest, but it’s hard to avoid the giant pile under our families’ trees.
    Christa the BabbyMama recently posted…It Sure Feels Like a MondayMy Profile

    • Katrina December 3, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

      Christa, I totally sympathize in every way. We are definitely not going “no presents” at all because that would not jive with what both of our extended families are willing to do. Not blogging is kind of a “small” thing, but it is one way that I can be slightly more invested from a time standpoint over the course of the next month. Despite what happens in terms of “presents” I need to be willing to give “presence.” But yes, in terms of presents, we are going to simplify our Christmas morning, which will follow three days of Christmas-present-palooza and our parents’ houses. We are doing the “Want, Need, Wear, and Read” criteria. One gift for each category and that’s it. It’s a start, right??? 😉
      Katrina recently posted…What Your Family Really Wants for ChristmasMy Profile

  9. Positively Alene December 4, 2012 at 10:17 am #

    Glad you wrote the post! What a beautiful way to make that point. And point taken. May I not get so bogged down in the crazy that I miss the presence!!! Presence is all that matters – that’s where I’ll find my peace and joy. My heart is screaming simplify this season . . . oh if everyone didn’t expect presents, but only His Presence. Ah yes!!!
    Positively Alene recently posted…bringing back peace – special birthday’s.My Profile

  10. Anna December 4, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    The things our kids say. They take me by surprise and pierce through e heart. This is the perfect post for Christmas. I will be sharing!
    Anna recently posted…Advent, Beginning of the EndMy Profile

    • Katrina December 7, 2012 at 7:42 am #

      Thanks! I’m glad you stopped by. :)

  11. Kate December 16, 2012 at 8:48 am #

    Hi,
    I just clicked over from money saving mom and gphave been exploring your blog- I love it! I just needed to read about not being a perfect real food person. I work part time and sometimes I feel so overwhelmed- I look forward to reading your blog in the future.
    Kate
    Full time mother, part time teacher

    • Katrina December 16, 2012 at 11:45 am #

      Welcome! I’m so glad that you found The Poorganic Life, where it is okay to be “real” about “real food.” I am a full time stay at home mom can the thought of trying to do real food totally stresses me out a lot of the time. I cannot imagine if I worked part or full-time, which I’ll probably have to do soon. I hope you’ll join in the conversation and let us know your thoughts, struggles, and advice for the rest of this great little community of “poorganics”.

  12. Kate December 19, 2012 at 9:24 am #

    I look forward to it ! I love the Christian sprit of giving your blog has too. Sometimes I need to remind myself one of the biggest reasons we live simply is so that we can afford to help others.
    Merry Christmas!
    Kate

  13. Rachel M December 31, 2012 at 12:13 pm #

    Wow you really did it! Looking forward to your January post on how the month went. I kinda miss your online “presence” :)

  14. MyPeaceOfFood January 8, 2013 at 7:41 am #

    Well, I didn’t get around to reading this until now, so clearly I’ve only been present elsewhere, although I still struggle with what you’re talking about on a daily basis. I literally find myself asking, How do people do this? How can I give my children all the time and attention they need, AND work, AND write, AND read, AND do the dishes, AND clean, AND do laundry, AND run errands, AND go to appointments…I feel like something always suffers. Either my house is dirty and the laundry is in piles, or I’m doing housework and my kids are whining. Either I cancel all evening commitments to be with my whining kids, or I go and wish I hadn’t. Everyone keeps telling me it’s just a life stage, but in the mean time, I feel like I can’t wait around to try to hear God’s voice about whether I should go to X meeting or just stay home. I’m so indecisive. I want to do what’s best, and yet I don’t know what’s best. I guess, at least the intention is there. But that, to me, feels like falling short. I know I need to be easier on myself and not worry about what other people think. I’ve known this for a long time. So I guess I need to keep working on it.
    MyPeaceOfFood recently posted…Chasing skinny (and cut, and ripped, and shredded, and all of the above)My Profile

    • Katrina January 8, 2013 at 10:16 am #

      I wish I knew the answer, but I think that you sort of gave it yourself. Doing everything just IS NOT possible. Something suffers. So, I played Barbies with Anika for 45 minutes this AM (which I do not enjoy if I’m being honest) but our floor is wretched, I haven’t showered, and there are piles of laundry everywhere. I have not blogged in weeks, and I don’t have a meal plan for the week. But I feel peaceful because I’ve decided to stop feeling guilty about not being able to do everything. That is ridiculous. Why should I feel guilty for being a normal woman. I don’t know or even want to know a woman who can do it all, so why would I waste my guilt on that. Last time I blinked I had one kid and my floor was dirty. Today I have three and my floor is dirty. Pretty soon, they will all be teenagers, not want to be in my presence, and my floor will probably still be dirty. I’m going to focus on the thing that is fleeting because, dang it, my floor will always be there for cleaning.