Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Holiday Month - Christmas Day

Next year I want to do Christmas differently. While the commercialism associated with the spiritual celebration has always bothered me a bit, it is indeed very easy to get caught up in the over-the-top decorations, the store sales, the TV shows and ads, and the overall hype of the holiday season. I have tried to shift my family’s focus to the spiritual celebrations, but I have usually been unsuccessful. But now that my children are all old enough to have set their Santa beliefs aside, I think the time might be right for a change.

Next year we will be celebrating Holiday Month for the entire month of December. On December 25th we will celebrate Christmas Day, a day for our spiritual celebrations. We will shift our gift giving away from that day, and we will open up Holiday Month for gifts. The rules are simple. Each family member can present a gift to another family member anytime they choose during the month, with the exception of Christmas Day. They will still be encouraged to make the gift giving a surprise, something to be anticipated and awaited. When someone is ready to present a gift, we will all sit together so we can oooh and aaah over it, and the receiver doesn’t have to wait until Christmas Day to play with/wear/enjoy their gift.

We always put our Christmas decorations up Thanksgiving Weekend, so those will be at the ready for Holiday Month. We can still enjoy traveling around town to see the tacky lights, watching special movies and tv shows, getting caught up in the shopping crowds if someone wants to do that, and we will make our holiday cookies and snacks early so they are available all month. But when Christmas Day arrives, our eyes and hearts will lift to the spiritual. We will continue the tradition I started when my oldest child was born of having a birthday cake for Jesus. We will visit church and sing our thanks for both the Holiday Month and for Christmas Day. Our Christmas Day will be joyous but with a joyousness that doesn’t reflect the more commercial aspects of the holiday.

I have discussed this new plan with my children, and while I believe the thought of receiving gifts all month was the main selling point, they all agree we should try it. So, check back with me in a year, and I will give you an update. In the meantime, if anyone has other ideas to separate the commercial and the spiritual aspects of Christmas, I would love to hear about them.


Anonymous said...

I can’t tell you how much I like your plan for next Christmas. I sat in church-CHURCH of all places, and thought about how far off from the spiritual aspect of Christmas we have all strayed. I’m not so much in a bah humbug snit but simply weary of the whole thing. I’ve just returned from the Girl Scout party. Too much food, too much music, too many frivolous and unwanted/unneeded gifts that were given because we were supposed to.

On my trip to DC tomorrow I will not be playing Christmas carols. I will not be wearing reindeer antlers, nor will my car have a wreath on the front, but my heart will be joyous because my family will be home together for another year. My wish for you is the same—family together and peace and happiness within your four walls. And no seizures for day or is that asking too much?

Candice said...

Last year I was really bad and got sucked into the commercialism of Christmas. It was my first year with a child and she had never had a Christmas where she got more than 2 or 3 gifts. So, I outdid myself and boy are we paying for it this year. Now, we have her sister and she has told her sister how great Christmas' are here. This year we tried to do more missional things: we did the Shoebox for African children, Scotty's Gifts (a local thing), made cards and wreaths for local firemen and police men, etc. I don't think that they got as much out of it as I expected them to, but we will try again next year. Anyway, kudos to you for thinking outside the box! Our church shows a great video about the commercialism of Christmas, if I find it online I will send it your way. It has the birth of Christ and then it talks about reindeer, Santa, snowmen, shopping & all the other things that cover up Jesus until you can't hear the baby Jesus cry anymore. It's a very powerful video. I really hope that I can find it. Anyway, Happy Holiday month & I hope Christmas is centered around Christ the way that you picture it.