Christmas shopping season is once again upon us and retailers are gearing up with ads for must-have Christmas presents for everyone on our gift lists. With the devastated economy, this year may not be the time to pile on debt by purchasing expensive Christmas gifts. This economic environment may be just what we need to re-think Christmas and find our way back to its true meaning. To discover the true meaning of Christmas during this holiday season, think SIMPLE. After all, Jesus was born in a manger decorated only with love; Christmas decor doesn’t get much simpler than that! Bringing meaning and joy, rather than stress and bustle, to your family’s celebration involves rethinking your holiday plans and preparations.
How to have a more meaningful Christmas Tip # 1 – Consider what brings you joy
In your quest for a simple, meaningful Christmas, first consider what traditions your family shares that truly bring you joy. Having your home decorated for the season is joyful, but many stress about having everything just right! For my family, the joy is in going to the farm and selecting our Christmas tree, enjoying the crisp winter air and smelling the wonderful aroma of pine needles. However, decorating the tree rarely brings our family joy! This year, our family will put our focus on selecting our tree! We will take a carafe of hot chocolate and enjoy the event, rather than rushing home to do what we don’t enjoy: decorating the tree. Once we bring our prize winning tree home, we will string it with lights and then decorate it only with easy to hang white crocheted snowflakes that I purchased many years ago. A tree decorated in only simple red globe ornaments is lovely, and globe ornaments can be purchased inexpensively by the dozen. Forget the garlands and the hundreds of ornaments collected over the years; opt for a simple, joyful tree. This same thought can be applied to many different holiday traditions. Pare them down to the most joyful.
How to have a more meaningful Christmas tip #2 – Consider the gifts received by Jesus
Jesus, who is the reason for the season, received three gifts on the very first Christmas celebrated! While I do not recommend you give your loved ones gold, frankincense and myrrh, I do recommend you consider the number of gifts given to each family member. If your living room has turned into Toys ‘R Us on Christmas morn, cutting back on the number of gifts will help your family find the true meaning of Christmas. A smaller number of gifts means less expense, less wrapping time, less shopping time and more enjoyment of each individual gift. Who hasn’t had Christmas mornings where the kids ripped open one present, barely pausing to treasure the gift before ripping into another? Consider three gifts per person, in honor of baby Jesus.
How to have a more meaningful Christmas tip #3 – Consider the reason for the season
During this holiday season, ask yourself the question, “Are you celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ?” If you are unsure of the answer, consider starting simple traditions that celebrate the birth of Jesus rather than consumerism. An advent wreath with candles that are lit every evening at dinner through the season is an easy way to make this holiday more meaningful. Instead of watching secular holiday movies, your family might enjoy a beautifully done movie called “The Nativity Story” which begins with the life of Mary and Joseph as they meet for the first time and travels through the miraculous birth of Jesus. One word of warning, this movie may be too intense and descriptive for children under the age of ten.
How to have a more meaningful Christmas tip #4 – Consider your Christmas card list
Several years ago, I found myself completely stressed about getting out my Christmas cards. Our family truly enjoys the cards we receive from friends and loved ones as they allow us to catch up on news and maybe see some treasured photos. Then, I had a Christmas card epiphany! That year, I sent our Christmas newsletter in January! I still used the Christmas/winter theme and I explained in my letter that I was starting a new tradition: sending New Year’s greetings! Over the years since, I have heard from so many who really enjoy getting our greetings in January when they are less rushed and have more time to read and enjoy our news of the year.
How to have a more meaningful Christmas tip #5 – Consider your Christmas day attire
I always loved dressing up on Christmas when our entire extended family came to celebrate. That meant usually purchasing special outfits and then after opening presents getting the kids and myself showered and dressed up. No more! Sweat suits and jammies are the dress for our family now. Everyone is comfortable and gone are the struggles of trying to dress up small children and keep them sharp and stain free all day! My extended family is also enjoying the relaxed attire for coming to our home on Christmas Day.
As one who strives for perfection in all things, these tips have eased the stress in our home and made for more meaningful celebrations over the years. I know that Jesus Christ himself would love the celebration of his birthday to be filled with love and awe rather than stress and strife. So, Happy Birthday Baby Jesus! And may you and yours enjoy a blessed and meaningful Christmas!
Source: Personal Experience