Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Christmas Changes....

I know it's only September.

I know Christmas isn't until December.

For a couple years, however, it's concerned me over the amount of commercialism there seems to be over the holiday.

I won't lie, though. I love decorating for the holiday, and listening to Christmas music. I'm one of those who put things up the day after Thanksgiving, too! My family loves to bake Christmas goodies and mail it to the grandparents and hand them out around town. And there's nothing wrong with all of that!

The problem lies when you turn your focus off of the true reason for the season and focus on me, me, me.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net



The amount of stuff my family receives each year for Christmas is mind-boggling. The amount of things we do for others throughout a whole year is sad.

I'm not ready to get rid of the Christmas tree and all the decorations, but we are ready to change some of our Christmas traditions.

We have long given up on anything Santa related. In previous years, we have left milk and cookies out, all the while giggling about what kind Daddy would like and how many he should have. My kids know the truth about Santa and we don't encourage Santa-pretending. We do, however, teach them to respect those who "do believe in Santa" and that it's something their moms or dads should teach them, not something that we do. I do not know if the tradition of leaving milk/cookies for Daddy out will continue, though.

We do enjoy doing for others during the Christmas season. When we moved to our small rural town just a couple weeks before Christmas 2010, we wanted people to know who we were and who we represented (the church my husband is the missionary for). We made a ton of cookies and other goodies and hand delivered them around town. This has since became a meaningful thing for us, a way for our family to reach out to those in our community. It's taken the focus off of us and put it on to others. This year will be no exception. We will continue to bake and deliver, though we are adding more places to our list and are contemplating doing more of a dinner delivery, rather just dessert.

Let's talk presents! This is a big one for me. Each year, we spend quite a lot of money on the kids, each other, and all our friends and family. This last year was especially hard for me because there wasn't a lot the kids needed, nor really wanted. I mean, truly wanted, not just saw something that looked cool and wanted it then. Why, oh why, do we spend SO much money and put forth SO much effort each year for material, worldly items? This year, hubby and I decided to set a limit (probably $20-$30) and draw names among the 6 of us. That will be the only present that person gets from an immediate family member. Friends and family will still be purchased/made as usual, but for us, it takes the focus off of, well, us. Maybe one year we will not buy any gifts for each other at all, who knows... but this year the extra money that would NORMALLY be spent on the 6 of us will be spent on others. We are talking about making donations to different cancer groups in honor or memory of those who matter, we are talking about doing more than just one Angel Tree, we are looking for ways to donate to those in need. For us, we are looking for ways to shift the focus from all the things I want for Christmas to those around us! We want Christmas to really be about giving, not getting.

Image: FreeDigitalPhotos.net


It's just another way that God has been working at changing my family's heart this past year. We want Christmas to be such a special reflection on the birth of Christ and a way for our family to truly minister to others.


I've heard some people doing Jesse Trees and there are so many wonderful ways to keep the true meaning of Christmas in check. I'd love to hear how you handle Christmas for your family. Do you do a tree, decorations, Santa Clause? Do you exchange gifts?





3 comments:

Michele said...

I love this! Last year we attempted 25 days of Christmas countdown. My mom, sis in law, and I tried to do help my nieces and my daughter do something of service every day in December. Some days we failed and had to play "catch up" later, but the girls got the point and LOVED it! I may still have the schedule of the things we did if your interested. I also heard a few weeks back of a family who gave each other only 3 gifts at Christmas. Jesus only got 3, and why do we think we ate better than JESUS? Ouch! We've been talking about doing that but haven't decided. Love this post!

This Housewife's Diary said...

I like your ideas! I'm hoping to wean our family off the idea of so many presents, when many end up broken, not played with, unloved. I want to see more of the handmade in our home, doing for each other and those outside the home instead of tons of store bought junk that will be thrown aside soon.

Thank you for starting Christmas early! :)

Kathleen said...

For the past 2 years we have raised money for Gospels for Asia....as the money was raised we "purchased" goats, chickens, cows, and even a house for a family in Bangladesh!! We asked for donations and had homemade items they could choose from based on the level of their monetary gift. (goat milk soap, bracelets, christmas cards...all things our family had made).

It got the focus off us and onto others....our goal one year was $2000...we knew "we" couldn't do it but God could and He did....we raised over $2000 for others....

My kids got a huge blessing out of "purchasing" the animals for other families...you see God had blessed us that year with milk goats and a milk cow and chickens and they saw the very practical-ness of it!!

May God bless you and yours as you seek to continue to serve Him in this way!

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