When you ask different people what Christmas is about you’ll get different answers.
Christmas, to this family, is enhanced by those things, HOWEVER, Christmas is about celebrating the birth of Jesus. No, He wasn’t born in the winter. Yes, Christians kind of took over the winter solstice celebrations and the birthday parties of other pagan gods (little ‘g’) when they began celebrating the birth of Christ on 25 December. For us though it doesn’t matter when or why 25 December was chosen. It was chosen and that’s the day we celebrate.
Gift giving has gotten a little out of control, don’t you think? At no other time in history, even though we’re experiencing an economic downturn, have Americans had so much disposable income. Almost every kid is going to get so much crap that they won’t even be able to remember it all when a grandparent calls and asks them what they got. Most of it will be left, forgotten at the bottom of a toy box or in the corner of a playroom, within a month.
We see no problem with giving gifts to our kids. We have, however, chosen to separate that part of Christmas from the celebration of Jesus’ birth. Kids love presents, and so much of their focus is on the presents that no matter how much they love Jesus or know the real reason for the season, what are they really thinking about when there are gifts to open? So in our house, the kids are so excited to wake up early on the 24th. And we run downstairs to see what’s under the tree and sit around taking turns opening gifts on the 24th. We indulge and partake and love the materialism on the 24th. On Christmas Day we do our best to shift focus. It has become tradition to bake a cake for Jesus, visit people in VA homes or nursing homes, and do a family Bible study on the events surrounding that miracle birth. It’s a more relaxed day for us when we can actually reflect on the meaning of the season instead of focusing on who got what, who didn’t get what, who got more and why are there so many plastic tie dealies imprisoning gifts in their boxes…
This will only be our third or fourth time celebrating like this. We like how it is setting up new traditions for our family. We like the fact that it enhances the focus, kind of like fasting does, on what is important. Doing things on purpose gives them deeper meaning.
What about you? Why do you “do Christmas” the way you do? Is it what you’ve always known? Have you given thought as to why you do the Christmas things you do and when you do them? What is the meaning behind your “Christmas” and how do you make it meaningful?
P.S. If you think that’s weird just wait…we don’t do Santa. At all. And this is the second year that we’ve instituted a “no toy” Christmas (and we’ve been really successful). I know! Maybe I’ll blog about that after Christmas. The no toy issue that is. I’m not going anywhere near the no Santa thing. That’s about as touchy of a subject as homeschooling vs. “outside” schooling. Or breast vs. bottle. Or staying home vs. going back to work. Or living inside the beltway vs. outside.