Have you ever read the Little House on the Prairie books?
One Christmas, Laura and Mary each get their own shiny tin cup (they had previously had to share an old one), two sticks of candy, a small homemade cake, and a shiny, new penny.
They were excited beyond belief.
In our modern times, such a meager Christmas is unimaginable.
Each year the retail stores seem to ratchet up the consumerism, trying to get us to buy more and more; some stores even stay open on Christmas.
Many of us have fallen for this and feel an intense pressure to spend a large amount of money on the loved ones in our lives, but such pressure often makes Christmas feel like something to get through without going thousands of dollars into debt. Because of our own expectations and others’, Christmas feels like a burden.
That’s not what Christmas is about.
Christmas is about giving and doing for others, but not at the expense of having to work overtime to buy more gifts or having to go into credit card debt so you don’t look cheap.
Why not bring back the meaning of Christmas and enjoy the holiday more starting this year?
Focus On the True Reason for the Season
The real reason we celebrate Christmas is to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.
This holiday season, why not find a few activities your family can do to focus on this?
Our family does many of the 30 recommended activities to keep Christ in Christmas. Two that we do every year are to make a birthday cake for Jesus that we enjoy on Christmas Day and to decorate our tree only with purple ornaments during the Advent season. (After Advent is over, we change out the decorations to more “fun” decorations as the kids say.)
Focus On Family Activities
Before the Christmas season arrives, consider sitting down with your children and telling them that Christmas this year will be focused more on giving than getting.
Ask them to consider some fun activities they’d like to do as a family this holiday season such as watching a holiday movie together, decorating the Christmas tree together, making holiday treats together, etc.
Also, consider asking each child to have one of their gifts be a family gift.
They could ask for a family membership to the local amusement park or a family membership to the local museum, or a small, weekend trip you could take together.
Focus On Appreciation And Gratitude
It’s easy to take family members for granted.
This holiday season, draw names from a hat, and each family member writes five to 10 things they appreciate about the person whose name they drew. As you write the list, you’ll be more grateful for the person, and the person will feel more appreciated, as will you when you hear what someone has written about you.
In addition, decide how you’ll help others this holiday season.
You might make personal care kits filled with items like deodorant, soap, razors, etc. for the local shelter. Or, you could pick a name off a Christmas tree at a local store or at your church and buy a gift for a child in need. You could volunteer at a soup kitchen.
Our family volunteers once a month at our church helping to make 200 sack lunches for the homeless, but in December, we’ll find some other activities to do also.
Helping others not only makes you feel good, but it also helps to make you grateful for all that you have. That is a reminder all of us need from time to time.
I’m not saying don’t spend money this Christmas, but why not try to make Christmas more meaningful this year?
Why not focus on helping others and spending time together as a family rather than on the never-ending rat race of buying more and more and more gifts all the while feeling more frustrated and less satisfied this holiday season?
What do you do to bring the true meaning of Christmas into focus and to tune out the retailers pleas that you must spend more and more money?