It can be easy to get so caught up in the hustle and bustle of Christmas that we miss the joy and hope that this season is supposed to bring. The stress of choosing just the right gift in the right size and color for every person on our growing Christmas list can overwhelm us. Before we know it, the joy of Christmas can be a distant memory. Sound familiar? If that is how you are feeling right now, stop. Realize what Christmas is really about. Realize it’s about God giving His son to us because He loves us and we celebrate that by giving gifts to those we love. It’s not about getting the biggest, most spectacular gift. It’s not about who has the most gifts. It’s about the love of giving.
Giving Not GettingIn our house, we have always tried to play down the gifts, which can be very hard in our over-commercialized world. From the beginning, our children have received 3 gifts from us each Christmas. (My husband's quote - "It was good enough for Jesus!") They have always been excited about and thankful for their gifts. In fact, just today, my 10 year old said “We get three gifts on Christmas! That is so awesome!” That made me smile. We, also, try to participate in some other activities that focus on the giving and the love behind that gift. I want my kids to enjoy giving even more than getting. Here are some ideas your family might want to try.
- Have a cookie bake. Invite some friends over each armed with a recipe or two and start baking. It can be a wonderful time to build relationships and traditions. Divide the cookies up at the end of the day and each family can take home a load of cookies or deliver them to friends and neighbors as a Christmas surprise. Maybe sing a carol or two!
- Samaritans Purse Gift Catalog. Do we really need any more gifts? Most of us probably don’t need anything. However, there are people in this world who just need their basic needs met. The Samaritan's Purse Gift Catalog allows you to purchase gifts to meet the needs of people you will never meet, but will be so grateful. You can purchase livestock or clean water or medicines for people who have no current access. Count your blessings and give back.
- Ring a bell. My daughter loves ringing the Salvation Army bell at the local Kroger store with a group of friends. They all bundle up and sing carols to the shoppers. This would be a great family project, too.
- Visit shut-ins, widows and nursing homes. Each December, the young girls in our church spend an afternoon visiting widows from our congregation. They go in groups of 3 or 4 and take a plate of cookies or other treats. The girls sometimes sing carols or just visit with the ladies. It is a huge blessing for the widows and the girls.
- Create a mom stocking. Bless a mom you know with a stocking of her own filled with little treats that let her know someone sees the great job she is doing raising our next generation.