THE SHUTTLESWORTH SENTINEL
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GETTING AWAY FROM IT ALL ESCAPING THE COMMERCIALISM TO BE WITH FAMILY
A lot of people tend to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with their extended family: grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. But that’s not the case in my family. While we see extended family at other times during the holiday season, it’s usually just me, my wife, and my daughters right around Christmastime. We like to keep things simple and avoid the stress and commercialism of the holiday. It’s really easy to let the TV ads, billboards, and storefronts swallow you whole, but, at the Shuttlesworth house, we try to eliminate as much of the material celebration of the season as possible. For several years, one way we did this was by spending Christmas in the mountains. During the week around Christmas, we would pack up some camping gear, hide the kids’ presents under some blankets, and just detach from society. When we have only each other to talk to and focus on, it’s a lot easier to become closer to one another during the holidays. As the girls have gotten older, they’ve become less interested in escaping to the mountains around Christmas. They have friends from high school in town they want to reconnect with, and that’s fine. It just means we’ve had to adjust our tradition a little bit. We’re one of those families that opens their Christmas presents on Christmas Eve. I know that might be unbearable to some people, but we really don’t have a lot of presents anyway. We decided a while back that the money we use for gift shopping might be better spent on a charitable cause. I don’t need something new every year. We’re very fortunate in all we have, and I just think there are people out there who need more things around the holidays than we do.
background, and watch our favorite Christmas movies. Our family’s go-to
movie is “A Christmas Carol” with George C. Scott. It might be quiet and quaint, but those Christmas mornings are some of my favorite memories.
I don’t share any of this because I think everyone should celebrate the holidays like we do. Some people love shopping on Black Friday, immersing themselves in all the sales, and going to Christmas parties every single night of December. If that’s how you celebrate, and it brings you and your family joy, do it. When our daughters were really young, we did all the standard, commercial Christmas activities with them. We took them to see Santa at the mall, and they cried hysterically on his lap. We went and looked at Christmas lights, and we went to the zoo because all of that stuff is magical for little kids. If I ever have grandkids, I’ll probably do all that stuff with them, too. I don’t like the commercial aspects of the Christmas season, but the holidays aren’t about just doing what I like — they’re about coming together with family to celebrate in whatever way brings us closer together.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
Christmas Day has mostly become a day to lounge around. We warm ourselves around a wood-burning fireplace, play Christmas music in the
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