Why There Won’t Be Gifts Under My Tree This Year

I love Christmas. Even as an adult, I’ve never lost the anticipation and excitement of Christmas morning. There is a magic present from the moment my eyes open for the first time that day.

When I was a kid, my brother and I would shuffle into the living room, fighting to hold back from a full out sprint towards the tree! We didn’t want to get in trouble Christmas morning. The tree glowed with decorations and presents spilled out into the living room. Santa had come while we slept.

But Not this Year

First of all because I’m not six, and second… Well, before I get into the second reason why there won’t be any gifts under my tree this year, I feel it’s important take a look back on 2019 and all the events that resulted in not getting any presents this year. 

Let’s start at the beginning.  January 2019, I’m happily living back in Arizona with my wonderful husband, 2 rescue dogs and cat.  I’m running 80+ miles a month training for a half marathon, consuming podcasts like candy,  and working a job that was sucking my soul dry. 

I hated almost every day of the job, but I loved my boss and mentor and had given her my word that she had me for another two years.  So I sucked it up every day and tried my best to learn and grow where I could.  But I needed something more.  Something to counter the monotony of my job and something that would make a difference in the world. 

A Purpose and a Platform

It was around this time that I started becoming more informed and more involved with animal rights and sustainable fashion.  I was learning so much about an issue that I didn’t even know existed that I decided to launch this site.  Amare by Heidi was my escape from corporate paralysis.  It gave me purpose, a platform, and hope.

The gift of girlfriends. A picture of four beautiful women posing for a picture.
Charissa Dantas (@befearlessonabudget), Laura Madden (@iamlauramadden), Ashley Swanson (@smashinglyashley_)

I also started meeting the most incredible women who are also sustainable fashion advocates, cleaning beauty activists, green-living enthusiasts, and most importantly supporters of other women. They taught me how to shop secondhand, and enjoy it!  They gave me opportunities and confidence to speak at events, moderate panel discussions, and put on the first ever Sustainable Fashion First Friday in Scottsdale, AZ. 

By October I was moderating the first ever Sustainable fashion panel discussion at Phoenix Fashion Week alongside my good friend, Laura Madden – someone I would have never met had in not been for this new path my life was leading me down. 

Heidi Altree hosting panel discussion with 3 other panelists at Phoenix Fashion Week.
Phoenix Fashion Week “Wear Your Values” Panel

I participated in a 90-day challenge and didn’t buy anything new from June to September and kept going!  Then supported my friend and fellow Re/Make ambassador with her Nothing New November challenge. Read her advice on thrifting here.

5 women walking hand in hand in beautiful secondhand fashion
Nothing New November Photo Shoot

I also started my podcast, To Love The Life We Live, in November to share everything I was learning about sustainable living, the global plastic problem, over-consumption and the havoc the fashion is having on the planet. 

And, I started a new job.  More accurately, my dream job.  And my life felt full, meaningful, and challenging (in a good way).  I don’t need a new pair of expensive heels to validate my success, I feel and believe I am successful. Nor do I need an expensive piece of jewelry to know that my husband loves and supports me because he demonstrates that every day.  I definitely don’t need this year’s most sought after gadget, because I know most likely I won’t care about it next year.

So as the holiday grew closer and closer, and my husband begged me for gift ideas, I finally said, “I have all I want and need and more.” We decided right there that would be no gifts this year.  Instead, we spent the money on vacation to the Bahamas, which we will take in March.  We invested in an experience we can enjoy together. 

Tomorrow we won’t wake up to presents under the tree.  We won’t take turns trying to out-do the other gift after gift.  We will exchange stockings, but because I can’t completely let go of my inner kid. And after that we will curl up on the couch with our pets and mimosas and watch A Christmas Story. Later that day my family will come over for dinner.  We will drink, laugh, eat and enjoy each other.  Because that is what is most merry to me.  A healthy, happy family and love all around. 

Merry Christmas. 

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.