Live simply.

Grow naturally.

Love greatly.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Our Non-Natural Christmas

Where have I gone wrong? No holiday, other than Christmas, can show me how far off the natural path my daughter has moved.

It started with the decorating. In my mind, less is more. A few lights, some pine needles and juniper and nandina berries to decorate the window, an outdoor tree decorated for the birds. Doesn’t that sound lovely?  Sarah seemed to like our minimalist efforts as well…until we went to WalMart and she got a look at the pink and purple fiber optic Christmas trees and all the outdoor blow-up Santas and reindeer. I could barely pull her out of the home and garden section. Then, when one of our neighbors lit up the outside decorations they had been putting up for three Sundays, we were forced to slow down every time we drove by; “I wish we had a polar bear like that…Look at that Santa…can we get one of those?” Mentioning how much electricity and non-recyclable material is used to power that scene didn’t seem to have much of an effect on her.

The big day finally arrives. Sarah opens presents at THREE different locations! That’s just crazy. Was she overwhelmed with gratitude at the gigantic pile of gifts we took home? No…she only wonders if there are more to open. Was she shocked at the excess? No…she seems to expect it!  

Finally, Christmas passes. Now is the time for Sarah to play with the things she has received. I am confident that the emphasis I try to put on being outside and exploring and creative play will lead her to choose those types of gifts – The ant farm, or the creek scope that lets you see what’s in the water, or the wooden blocks that you can make pictures out of. Sarah, however, gravitates towards the shiny purple pom poms with the drum beat and the plastic microphone stand with more drum beats and the doll with clothes that match hers – all bright and fluffy and about as non-natural as you can get.

It’s not so much that I am disappointed in my daughter. She has obviously been exposed to a lifestyle that is not so natural, and I can only blame myself for that. I’m disappointed that I took her to see those tacky Christmas decorations every time we went into WalMart and some of her stocking stuffers from us were pretty anti-natural. What is my worst offense? I found it cute to watch her try and come up with cheers while shaking those awful pom poms and I recorded her singing Jingle Bells into that plastic microphone and it was I who suggested she and her doll put on their pajamas for the night. Ugh. What was I thinking and how can I fix it?


  1. Shannon, this is exactly what scares me about the idea of raising kids. Maybe it is why I haven't been blessed with them. But I always have the exact same thought when I see kids at Christmastime. I only want to give my kids (if I had them) maybe one, lasting gift, instead of the abundant plastic nonsense that gives them a shot of adrenaline only to last until next week when they are bored with it and anxious for NEXT Christmas when they can hope for even more gifts. Christmas is a bit like crack, I think.

    Maybe the real issue that I have is actually with our society (which is infecting all other societies). Really, it is there in all modern societies, not just American. But still, it certainly is not conducive to "natural living."

  2. You are exactly right Paul, it is very stressful to raise kids in our society! It's this uphill battle that sometimes seems impossible to win. The odds are definitely against American kids when it comes to "natural living." The only solution I see is to get back into overseas volunteer work, where we are able to show our children different perspectives and cultures and selflessness that is practically unheard of in this country of plenty
    Thanks for commenting!