How do we celebrate Christmas? To answer that question I would like to share two things that we are doing differently this year in efforts to celebrate Christmas instead of celebrate all the things that go along with Christmas.
1. We are doing our best not to give in to the consumerism of Christmas. It’s hard though, isn’t it? Every time you turn on the TV, there is a commercial for something that is on sale…be it a TV, car or that flying fairy toy, the commercials suck you in making us feel that in order to have a really great Christmas we need to buy these things and stick a big red bow on them. The stores…oh, my the actual stores! Everything is pretty, glittery, glowing, shiny, and cheaper than normal. The aisles are so jam packed with toys and clothes and KitchenAid mixers that you can hardly get down them. I wonder if they do this so you’ll put one in your cart in efforts to just get down the aisle?? Jen Hatmaker wrote a great article about this very topic. In it she writes what she and her husband do in efforts to avoid overspending, and after Paul and I read the article we both agreed we should give it a try this year. Our kids will get four gifts from us this year: something they need, something they want, something to read and something to wear. That’s it minus a few things from the Dollar Tree in their stocking. Why? Because over the past several Christmases, even before the kids came along, we overspent and got so consumed with buying gifts that we lost sight of the true purpose behind Christmas in the first place. Jesus was an afterthought. Never again, folks. We don’t want our kids to be all about “getting” and not about “giving”. We don’t want Jesus to be an afterthought for them.
2. We are not “doing Santa”. It’s a hard thing to get away from because…well…he is everywhere. He’s on TV, Coke cans, shirts, in songs, in parades, at the mall. You could argue that Santa has become more prevalent at Christmas than Jesus…and I think you would be right. It is not that we think Santa is bad, but we want our kids to know why we even have Christmas in the first place. I want them to celebrate with praise and adoration the God who loved them enough to leave his high priestly robes to put on the ordinary clothing of man. He loved them enough to sacrifice himself. He loved them enough to send His Spirit to dwell in them. So, no, there are no gifts from Santa Claus this year. We also don’t want our kids to one day look at us and say, “So, if Santa isn’t real, then what about Jesus?” How do you explain that we lied concerning Santa but not Jesus? No thank you. I’ll just skip that if at all possible.
We want our family to focus on Jesus and giving, not Santa, getting gifts, and spending lots of money that forces us to live above our means.
We will talk to them about the actual St. Nick and share the historical story. A man of generosity. A man who saw needs and gave gifts out of compassion. If you want to know more about the real story of St. Nicklaus and how you can lead your family this Christmas season to create a culture of generosity and not a culture of greed and materialism, check out this article here. This new mindset has been freeing for our family and we’re sure it can be for yours as well.