What are your favorite Christmas memories? Can you remember what gifts you gave and what gifts you received last year or the year before?
We have been asking ourselves these questions. Our schedule has been crazy, our daughter is getting married on January 2nd, my dad has been in treatment for cancer, and we still want to enjoy the holiday. Illness and a child getting married makes me want to reevaluate what is important.
Our family celebrates Christmas as the birth of Jesus. Mary and Martha were friends of Jesus when he was an adult. When he was visiting them, Martha was busy hustling and bustling about the home while Jesus met with their friends. She became frustrated because Mary didn’t help her with the prep. You can read about it here. Jesus tells Martha that Mary has chosen that which cannot be “taken away” from her. In the context of Christmas, I’ve been thinking about our family and what can’t be taken away and how that can help us focus on a more meaningful Christmas. We have had our Christmas struggles!
To simplify and create a more meaningful Christmas we are:
- Not putting up a Christmas tree, but I am decorating with lights and the Nativity since Jesus is the light of the world and the center of our Christmas.
- Volunteering at our local community Christmas dinner a few hours Christmas Eve day
- Not purchasing gifts for everyone. We are drawing names and then filling that person’s stocking
- Staying home Christmas Day, and not traveling
- Baking cookies for the wedding and freezing them on Christmas Day
What I wish we had done when our girls were little:
- I wish we had encouraged fewer toy gifts and more gifts to their college fund
- I wish we had given better thought to the holiday activities we participated in and limited them
- I wish we had completed simple community service projects
- I wish we had a completed meaningful advent calendar
- I wish we had not lost focused on Jesus as the reason of the season
Our suggestions to you:
- Thank carefully about your holiday activities. Will they cause stress as you rush the kids to keep up? Are they meaningful to your family or just one more obligation? Do they teach the Christmas story?
- Keep a daily routine and make sure the kids get plenty of rest. My mother says, “Everything looks better after a good nights rest.”
- Don’t over schedule the family. Say ‘no’.
- Choose advent calendars that focus on Jesus’Birth like Truth in the Tinsel (affiliate link) or giving back and thankfulness. JDanielfour’s mom has a great one on Blessings
- As a family, choose a simple service project, it doesn’t have to be major. It is important to teach children to give.
- Keep Christmas activities simple. I will list a few below from the blog that are very easy.
- Help your children to limit the number of toys on their lists. If they have a long list have them pick their top 2 or 3 toys, then boost the college fund.
Think back to your childhood. What is your most happy memory? Many times it isn’t what we get or do but it is the people that make the memory. As a family, evaluate the holiday. Is the focus on the birth of Christ or the busyness of the world around us? Is our family choosing what can’t be “taken away”. Changing family traditions isn’t easy! But if needed, be encouraged. Make the change.
Hope you all have a very “Mary” Christmas!
Truth in the Tinsel – an extensive e-book with Christmas crafts and lessons that focus on Jesus’birth
Nativity Blocks and link up of many activities that focus on the birth of Jesus!
A book about Jesus birthday is “Guess Who’s Coming to Our House”
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