Changing My Christmas this year

Kelly McBurnie has started making some adjustments to her relationship with Christmas.

I have a love/hate relationship with Christmas. I love the decorations, carols, food and music, but can’t stand the crowded shopping centres, overindulged children or pressure to see distant relatives and spend inordinate amounts of time making small talk. This year because of COVID I’ve slowly started making some changes.

It started when I discovered Operation Christmas Child, a unique project of the Christian charity Samaritan’s Purse. Disadvantaged children overseas are sent Christmas shoeboxes filled with six different types of gifts, each fulfilling a need: something to love, wear, play with, something for school, personal hygiene and something special.

I decided to do the same for my children, and have had a lot of success. The six gifts are more than enough for my eight and 10 year olds: they receive things they like, but also things they need. Shopping is stress-free and done in one night, with the categories directing my spending and providing some focus.

This year I’m making another change: I’m going to support small local businesses. Luckily we can get away this year at Christmas time to the sleepy coastal town of Yamba in northern NSW. The town centre is a quiet handful of streets and businesses, but it has plenty to offer. You have a choice of pizza, fish and chips, Thai or Mexican food, and and two shopping malls. You can buy anything in terms of hardware, clothing, sporting goods, kitchenware or shoes. There’s a pub and a classic movie theatre with old-fashioned cushioned, creaky chairs I remember from my childhood. I’ve bought a pair of incredible boots from the op shop, had a facial with the beauty therapist, worked out at the gym and taken surfing lessons at the beach.

Yamba is a magical place, so why not spend my hard-earned money there?

The challenge I’ve set Santa this year is to purchase all six gifts from Yamba businesses. Okay, Santa might have to travel down the road to MacLean, another small town but either way the goal is to spend the money locally. They have had a tough 2020.

So that’s my plan. Fingers crossed everything goes smoothly and I don’t find out the shops shut the week of Christmas.