Isabelle's first birthday (and the subsequent holiday season) is right around the corner and I wanted to take this opportunity to request NO gifts be brought to her party. Your presence is all the presents she needs. I will request this until she outgrows the floor to ceiling stockpile of toys Mimi has in her basement. I want to teach Isabelle, and myself in the process, to be content with what she has.
When she is older you can gift her with experiences like—god help me—Justin Beiber tickets (or whoever the teen idol is of her day). Because plastic toys get tossed aside, break down, and clutter up landfills but memories out-live and out-last things.
This isn’t just about Isabelle’s birthday, it’s also about Christmas. I find it ironic that we buy things we don’t need the day after (and sometimes the night of) the day we are thankful for what we have.
When I think about the holidays the following comes to mind: joy, love, peace, family, laughter, food, hot chocolate, mexican train, bad christmas music, Santa, and baby Jesus. Note what doesn’t come to mind: stress, shopping, debt, fighting, and greed.
Even through all my years at West Point and service in the Army I was always able to come home for Christmas. I feel so incredibly fortunate to have been able to spend the holidays with my family every single year since I was born. Maybe that’s why I have such a special place in my heart for it.
Join me in celebrating the holiday season instead of just surviving it. Leave the excess consumerism to the world and help us teach our daughter to live in the land of enough. And above all else, please remember the only holiday spending that matters is time spent with family and friends.